legal developments, same sex relationships


The recent changes in NC law regarding gay and lesbian couples brings with it an interesting array of questions and potential scenarios related to divorce, separation, property division, and all other aspects of traditional divorce, many of which have not yet been settled by court precedent or legislative drafting in NC.  We keep a close ear to the ground regarding developments in same sex law in North Carolina and look forward to the state of North Carolina continuing to make positive steps in this important and long overdue direction.  


Recent news:


6/1/16:  Interesting article in the American Bar Association Journal discussing the impact of Obergefell on family law, divorce, and other areas of law across the United States.  As with any major social shift, the laws, regulations, and perceptions impacted by Obergefell will likely take many years to fully evolve to fit the new standard. Read the full ABA article discussing some of the areas of law impacted by Obergefell.


3/25/16:  NC Governor Pat McCrory’s faces national heat and backlash from numerous groups, including the ACLU and the NCAAP, for signing a bill that nullified local authority to define and deter discrimination.  The passing of the bill comes weeks after Charlotte City Council approved local LBGT protections which in part, provided that Charlotte businesses may not discriminate against gay, lesbian, or transgender customers.  One of the more controversial parts of the ordinance allowed transgender residents to use either a men’s or women’s bathroom, depending on the gender with which they identify.  

McCrory’s bill represents a major step back for equal rights and equal protection within the state of North Caroilna, for not only the LBGT community, but all groups that face discrimination.  Read more about how the bill is impacting much more than what bathroom can be used by the LBGT community.


2/23/16:  On the heels of last year's historic Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Charlotte continues the trend of providing equal protection for all.  Last night, Charlotte City Council approved LBGT protections in a 7-4 vote.  Among other things, the protections mean that business in Charlotte may not discriminate against gay, lesbian, or transgender customers.


6/26/15:  A MAJOR win for equality.  In its Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the United States Supreme Court held that discriminatory, anti-gay marriage bans across the country are in violation of the Constitution, and struck them down.  Specifically, the court stated that: “The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.”  Read the full text of this landmark equal rights case.


5/15/15:  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has updated its guidelines regarding the ability of same sex couples to be listed as biological parents on birth certificates.  This move closes one of the many gaps and loop holes created when NC legalized gay marriage in October of 2014, bringing the rights of gay couples more closely in line with those of straight couples in the state.  Read the full ACLU article.  

Same Sex Marriage and divorce, NC


On October 10, 2014, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in "General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper" that our state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional.  North Carolina had previously denied marriage rights to same-sex couples by statute since 1996.  With the new ruling, gay and lesbian couples will no longer be discriminated against in North Carolina when it comes to recognizing a valid marriage from another state in NC, getting married in NC, enjoying the rights associated with marriage, and being able to divorce in North Carolina.  


For additional information on divorce in North Carolina and the related claims, visit our divorce page.  Have a question regarding another family law issue?  Visit our page on family law or give us a call, 704-412-1442.  

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To speak with one of our Charlotte attorneys about legal issues concerning same sex marriage and divorce, separation, property settlement, or any other issue or question related to same sex couples in North Carolina, call 704-412-1442 today.

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