Celebration of same-sex marriage in NC continues

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A little more than 24 hours has passed since the first same-sex couple in Wake County said "I do."

Same-sex marriage supporters across the state are still celebrating, while opponents of gay marriage are pledging not to let this victory stop their fight.

Hundreds of supporters attended an LGBTQ fundraiser at the Koka Booth Amphitheater Saturday evening. The event benefits the Alliance for AIDS Services of North Carolina. That organization works very closely with Equality North Carolina, which has been lobbying for expanded rights. For many people in attendance, the ruling offered relief.

"When he came out to me, parents would often times just kick their children out of their homes," said Diane McLean, who said for years she watched her son struggle for acceptance and battle discrimination. McLean, who lives in Cary, said she couldn't be happier now that her 45-year-old son can, if he chooses, marry in North Carolina.

"Things haven't been fair," said McLean. "Men and women, boyfriends and girlfriends, can love and walk down the street holding hands and they can kiss if they want to in public. That hasn't always been so easy for gay people."
Same-sex marriage was celebrated at the "drag bingo" event.

"It's welcoming. It's enveloping," said Cary resident Cat Templeton.

Gay couples flooded the Register of Deeds Friday in Wake County to get their licenses once the decision came down.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest released a statement Saturday on the ruling. He called for the public's support.

"The courts have essentially stated that a man "marrying" another man, or a woman another woman, is rooted in our nation's traditions and history, inferring that states have no interest in the preservation of marriage as an exclusive union between a man and a woman," said Forest. "This strains credulity. I hope that you will join me in standing against judicial tyranny, and fight to restore the balance of power intended in the Constitution of the United States."

The North Carolina Values Coalition echoes his statement.

"We worked very hard to get the marriage amendment passed two years ago and it does seem very unjust that one judge can undo the will of 61 percent of the voters in this state," said Tami Fitzgerald.

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger have vowed to keep fighting to resurrect the ban. They hired a California-based attorney, who is the chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage.
"It's 2014," McLean said. "I think it's time for people just quit focusing on differences and start focusing on what we all have in common."

Until another legal battle gets underway, Gov. Pat McCrory has said he will abide by the decision and that "each agency will work through the implications of the court's ruling regarding its operations."

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