Around the U.S.A. May 12, 2012,
A lesbian who sought a North Carolina marriage license with her partner and was rejected under a state law banning same-sex marriage was arrested with another person Thursday after they refused to leave a government office where several gay and lesbian couples were turned away.
The civil disobedience followed a day after President Barack Obama publicly endorsed same-sex marriage, and two days after North Carolina voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
Mary Jamis, 52, of Mocksville, and a heterosexual friend who joined the protest, Mary Lea Bradford of Winston-Salem, were arrested after they blocked the entrance to the marriage license office and refused to leave more than 30 minutes after closing time.
The protest came amid attempts by a gay rights group, Campaign for Southern Equality, to broaden public support to allow same-sex marriage and more protests are planned in coming days at other county offices in North Carolina that issue marriage licenses.
Nine gay and lesbian couples each presented completed forms and identification to a clerk at the local Register of Deeds office in Winston-Salem, but were refused because state law recognizes only heterosexual couples.
On Tuesday, North Carolina became the 30th state to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The state already has laws that prohibit gay marriage, but adding the prohibition to the state constitution will make that much harder to change.