There is a large debate over the legality and rights of same sex marriage and whether it is a constitutionally given right. While it is up to the fifty states to decide whether same sex marriage is legal, there is a large debate occurring in our nation about whether it should be legal. Some people are against same sex marriage for religious reasons or cultural reasons. There is a clause in the US Constitution known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which states that all of the States within the United States must respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” The clause is Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. This clause was created to ensure that decisions made by a judicial system in one state are recognized and honored in every other state.
Since the Full Faith and Credit Clause is a part of the US Constitution, some think that when one state legalizes same sex marriage, that other states are bound to honor those marriages that are produced from that state. Those opposing same sex marriage are against honoring any marriage certificate from a same sex marriage based upon passing constitutional amendments and acts passed by Congress.
The State of North Carolina does not recognize same sex marriage under the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress in 1996. This act defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. While same sex marriage is already considered illegal in North Carolina, some members of the North Carolina Legislature want to pass an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that would prohibit any legal recognition of same sex partners, including prohibiting private companies from allowing same sex couples from enjoying insurance benefits, retirement pay outs, and other benefits provided to married couples. This amendment would make it a difficult task for future legislature to overturn the ban on same sex marriage.
The North Carolina legislature has deemed same sex marriage to be illegal and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. The recent bill to create an amendment to ban same sex marriage shows that there is a strong desire among many members of the new republican legislature to prevent same sex marriage from ever being considered legal in the state of North Carolina in the future.
Written by Samantha Barringer – Intern with Collins Law Firm