NC leaders, residents speak out about SCOTUS gay marriage ruling

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) – The U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage doesn’t change what’s been happening in North Carolina since last fall. But the decision is still eliciting strong feelings from opposing sides of the issue.

County officials have been issuing licenses in North Carolina since October after federal judges overturned North Carolina’s constitutional amendment that limited marriage to a man and a woman. Chris Sgro with Equality North Carolina called Friday’s decision historic for all same-sex families in the state. He says there’s still work to be done to end LGBT discrimination. Ryan Burris, the chair of Cape Fear Equality, echoes the concerns of continued discrimination.

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“While we can get married at 10 a.m., we can be fired at noon, and kicked out of our homes by 2 p.m.,” Burris said. “There are still no federal protections for employment or housing discrimination. In fact, there are no state level protections in a majority of US States! So the fight does not end here!”

“I mean I’m pretty happy about it,” Wilmington resident Ocean Priselac said. “That, you know, we’re progressing. Let’s put it that way. We’re progressing a little bit.”

Tami Fitzgerald with the North Carolina Values Coalition said the decision is on the wrong side of history and North Carolina residents who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds still must be allowed to act on their beliefs.

“Americans believe that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman, and it is an improper abuse of power for the Supreme Court to attempt to re-define an institution that it did not invent,” Fitzgerald said.

“I think it sucks,” Wilmington resident Melvin Inscoe said. “This country, I mean it was founded on religious principles. I mean 13 of the 15 men who formed the Constitution were active members of the church.”

Today’s decision makes the United States the 21st country to legalize gay marriage nationwide.

Gov. Pat McCrory also issued a statement Friday afternoon.

“Like many North Carolinians, I still believe the definition of marriage should be determined by the states and it should be the union between one man and one woman,” McCrory said. “However, I took an oath to uphold the constitution which compels me as governor to ensure that North Carolina upholds the rule of law.”

Statements from the Associated Press were used in this story.