Same Sex Marriage Comes to Fayetteville-Fort Bragg, North Carolina

They Vowed It Would NEVER Happen!  But It DID —

Alishia-Shelbie-Before-SMWhile I lived in Fayetteville, as Director of the longtime peace project Quaker House, we worked hard for change and justice, including for LGBT folks.

It was an uphill slog, with many difficult moments. Here’s one, a video we made in response to an ugly campaign to put a ban on same sex marriage in the NC constitution

The ban passed in Fayetteville by 80 per cent, in 2011. Yet there were better moments too: When the odious “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” policy was repealed, we organized the Local public celebration, memorialized here. I retired from Quaker House in 2012. But I was back in Fayetteville on Monday, October 13, 2014 (known as “Columbus Day” in many places), to join in with the biggest achievement of this equality struggle so far: the Tarheel state’s constitutional ban was dead; and this was the first day when marriage licenses were issued to NC same sex couples.

My friend Katharine “Kat” Royal was also on hand. Kat is a minister, and she and her husband Micah performed several weddings right outside the courthouse in the warm sun.

While I was there, several same sex couples came into the county’s Register of Deeds office. I talked with two of them, one of them proceeded to get married on the spot, and more about this visit is in these seven photos below.

It was a big day.

Register of Deeds Office, Cumberland County NC Lots of people went in with kids; maybe they were buying houses. Kathy & Elaine, doing their pre-nup paperwork Kathy & Elaine, who have been together eleven years, are right behind the blue sign. The paperwork took about half an hour (for everybody). They said the county staff were friendly and professional. Kathy & Elaine, all smiles! Here they are, license in hand. Kathy is retired, Elaine is an army veteran, and has a civilian job at Ft. Bragg. They’ve bought a teardrop camper, they said, and look forward to Elaine’s retirement, when they expect to drive around fancy free, wherever they feel like. They’re planning a wedding toward the end of this year.

If you look through the window, upper left, into the Register’s office, you can glimpse another smiling couple, who followed Kathy and Elaine. In the bustle of the day, we didn’t catch their names, alas.

Next to come in were Alishia and Shelbie. Alishia, at left, is a Marine, and is proud of having passed the tough Marines training tests. Alishia works at a restaurant. They met through an online dating site, and have been together for a month.

Alishia and Shelbie exchanging vows

Kat Royal, at left, reads the wedding service for this winsome couple, who spoke their vows shyly and stumbling a bit (who of us who’s been through this hasn’t done that??)  Personally I think Shelbie’s sneakers are to die for.

Alishia and Shelbie, in the clinch

Kat: “I now pronounce you, wife and wife”; and into the clinch.

Alishia and Shelbie, a post-wedding hug The happy couple, one of many in North Carolina on October, 13, 2014, Day One of a new era

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