CHARLOTTE, (AP) — Gay-rights advocates are still trying to make sense of the effect of a constitutional amendment two months after North Carolina voters slammed the door on same-sex marriages.
The Campaign for Southern Equality offers a free legal workshop scheduled for Friday in Charlotte to help same-sex families learn what has changed for them since the amendment took effect in May. Many have expressed concern that the amendment invalidates wills or health care power of attorney forms, which it doesn't.
The amendment has left municipal managers wondering if cities and towns can offer benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees.
The group takes its informational workshop to Asheboro on Saturday.
Same-sex marriage was already illegal in North Carolina, but the constitutional amendment makes that harder to change in the future.
A June 2012 Public Employment Law Bulletin from the UNC School of Government authored by Diane Juffras, associate professor of public law and government, concludes that Amendment One does not prevent local governments from offering benefits to unmarried domestic partners.
"Previous decisions of the North Carolina courts and decisions from other states make it unlikely that a court will find that a public employer’s extending domestic partner benefits confers the rights and responsibilities of marriage or creates a marriage-like legal status," writes Juffras. "North Carolina courts are likely to conclude, then, that while Amendment One constitutionalizes the state’s statutory prohibition on same-sex marriage, it does not make any changes to the legal authority of public employers to provide domestic partner benefits to its employees."
Additional information from SGRToday.com