• Local couple wants marriage certificate to say 'North Carolina'

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Lawmakers in several states, including North Carolina are waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether to uphold a recent ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage in Virginia.

    The same court that struck down Virginia's ban could also rule on North Carolina's ban.        

    This comes as Charlotte is preparing for its annual pride festival.
    Channel 9's Stephanie Coueignoux spoke with a local couple who said even if it means waiting, they want their marriage certificate to say "North Carolina."

    “It’s actually for me, the ability to say ‘I’m her wife,’” Jenny Richeson said.

    Richeson married Tonya three years ago in a civil ceremony in their home state of North Carolina, and while they consider themselves married, being able to legally wed would formalize that feeling.

    “It would be beautiful to have Mrs. Ashcraft,” Richeson said.

    “So, if we are going to be separate, it gives others the green light to look at us as less than. We want to be seen as same as,” said Tonya Ashcraft.

    In 2012, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly supported a ban on same-sex marriage.  

    Warren Smith, the vice president of the Christian magazine World, believes if a court were to overturn that decision, it would damage the democratic process.

    “For the will of the people to be so blatantly and directly subverted it will have a very detrimental effect in people's confidence in government and confidence in the democratic process,” Smith said.

    Even if the ban were to be overturned, Smith said supporters of traditional marriage would continue to fight for what they believe in.

    “We are at the very beginning of a fairly long fight over this issue both at the ballot box and at the courts,” Smith said.

    For Tonya and Jenny, they know they could easily drive to Virginia next week and get married, but they said they will wait.

    “For us, North Carolina is very special. We definitely want to have North Carolina on our marriage certificate. So we want to wait,” Richeson said.

    Organizers for Charlotte's Pride parade said the possibility of North Carolina's ban being struck down could boost attendance this weekend.

    They're expecting a crowd of 80,000 people.

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