'Shouldn't be worried about this': Durham couple skeptical of Respect for Marriage Act, here's why

Akilah Davis Image
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Durham couple skeptical of Respect for Marriage Act
The bill would give federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Tanya Arbogast and Chanel Copeland tied the knot surrounded by family and close friends, they traveled to Massachusetts for the small ceremony.

That's because it wasn't legal yet in North Carolina.

"It's funny because Tanya said, do you want to wait until its legal in North Carolina? I said that is never going to happen in our lifetime. Then two years later it became legal everywhere," said Chanel Copeland.

The couple have been married for ten years and are suspicious of the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill would give federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. Several Republican senators have signed off on the measure including North Carolina's senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.

"I find it interesting that someone in the past who was maybe behind Amendment 1 or other legislative things in the past that weren't positive for gays, lesbians and transgender folks is now on a positive side," said Arbogast.

READ | Senate passes landmark bill protecting same-sex marriages; House approval comes next

There is no case challenging the right to marry in the Supreme Court, but following the reversal of Roe v. Wade many same sex couples feared their marriage and the protections that come with it could be next.

"I don't see why I have to constantly be worried about this," said Copeland. "Often they'll hide things in bills that we don't know about."

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the courts should reconsider its past rulings on same sex marriage. Just the thought made Arbogast and Copeland consider moving out of the country.

"We want to go somewhere that has in their constitution a protection for same-sex marriage so I don't have to worry about being 85 and not being able to visit Tanya in the hospital because we're not legally married anymore," said Copeland.