US: North Carolina registrar pledges to sign same-sex marriage licences, defy marriage ban

A newly-elected North Carolina registrar has pledged to start signing same-sex marriage licenses in November, despite the state’s marriage ban.

Mark Chilton, who yesterday won the Democratic primary to become register of deeds for Orange County, told ThinkProgress that when he starts his role in November, he will defy Amendment 1, the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Registers of deeds control the issuing of birth, death and marriage licenses locally.

He said: “I think it’s clear that Amendment 1 prohibiting same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

“There’s no doubt that the federal constitution prohibits the use of legislation to oppress people

“Until a court tells me to stop, I’m going to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

“The question isn’t whether I can issue these marriage licenses. The question is: why can’t the other 99 North Carolina registers of deeds join me?”

Chilton narrowly defeated incumbent Deborah Brooks in the Democratic primary yesterday, taking 6,682 votes to her 6,135.

Having won the primary, he will be running unopposed in November’s general election.

Last month, a lawsuit challenging the state’s marriage ban was filed by clergy members.

Amendment 1 states: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”

The state’s Attorney General Roy Cooper did not comment on Chilton’s pledge.

In a separate Republican primary in the state, anti-gay Republican Steve Wiles lost out on his bid for state senate, after it was revealed he had previously worked as a drag queen.