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Durham couple files lawsuit for marriage license
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Richard Multinax and Perry Pike file suit
in Durham County District Court
by Donald Miller
DURHAM, N:C. — The fight for same-^sex
marriage has finally come to North Carolina.
Richard Mullinax, 36, and Perry Pike, 41,
have filed a lawsuit in Durham County
District Court after being denied a marriage
The two met in May, 1998 through mutu
al friends. For them, the decision to apply for
a marriage license in the town they call home
was a natural one.
"Who we are is what made us decide to
do this,” Pike explains. “We were already out
here — everybody already knew us as a gay
couple and, in some sense, it seemed like we
were the perfect ‘poster boys’ for this.
“We’re active in the community and the
community knows that. We realized it was a
privileged place to be and that we were very
lucky because we wouldn’t lose our place in
the community or our job."
According to Mullinax, the experience at
the Deeds Office was a mixed bag of positive
and negative feedback.
“The clerks in the office handed us the
applications, but when they realized our
names they fairly curtly pulled them out of
our hands and said ‘we can't give you this.’
Attorney Cheri Patrick — representing
Mullinax and Pike — initiated a
dialogue with Register of Deeds
Willie Covington, who eventu- ,
ally called County Attorney
Chuck Kitchens in to mediate
“‘By all means give them an '
application,’ he said. And they let
us fill it out. too,” Mullinax
After Mullinax and Pike were
allowed to complete an applica
tion form at The Durham
Country Register of Deeds Office
and were refused the license, the
two, with attorney Patrick in tow,
promptly walked across the street
to the courthouse and filed suit against the
“It was all very professional,” Pike recalls.
“Sheri asked Willie Covington if he was avail
able to be served papers and he said yes,”
“i think Willie Covington is doing every
thing in his power to help us,” says Mullinax.
“But Chuck Kitchen, 1 think it [is] fairly clear,
opposes same-sex marriage.”
. Kitchen said he would file a motion to
dismiss the suit, contending that the case
belongs in Superior Court.
“I really think statewide issues such as
this should be filed directly against the state.
Richard Mullinax (left) and Perry Pike are suing Durham
County, N.C., for a marriage license.
with Attorney General Roy Cooper as the
plaintiff, as opposed to my register of deeds,”
Kitchen told the Durham Herald-Sun.
Kitchen angered area gay-rights activists
last year when he said it would be illegal for
the county to offer health benefits to same-
sex domestic partners of its employees. He
cited an 1805 state law against fornication
■ Despite Kitchens’ feelings, Mullinax and
Pike intend to see this fight through to the
"Having an invalid license, to us, is a part
see COUPLE on 13
Changes would allow states to provide some of the
benefits of marriage to gay couples
by Paul Johnson
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new version of the proposed amend
ment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage was filed Mar.
22 in the House but with
vague wording that sup
porters claim would
allow for gay couples to
receive some legal bene
fits of marriage, but
which opponents say is
The draft amend
ment proposed by
The message from Capitol Hill; Separate Senator Wayne Allard
and unequal. (R-CO) and Rep.
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) now reads “Marriage in the United States
shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this
Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to
require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred
upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
In announcing the change Musgrave said that the amendment
would now allow states to provide
some of the benefits of marriage to see CONGRESSon 6
prepares for Pride
Political climate lends urgency to celebration
by David Stout
“Pride” will be the
operative word for the
Carolinas in May. The
LGBT and allied com
munity will gather for
Charlotte Pride the
first weekend of the
month and then as
semble in Columbia,
S.C., just two weeks
later for the festivities
at S.C. Pride.
One of the highlights of S.C. Pride is the
The statewide advocacy group South Carolina Gay and Lesbian
Pride Movement (GLPM) is hosting the. 13th annual event May 14-16
and organizers have put together an impressive slate of performers,
speakers and related events that offers something for everyone.
The current political climate in South Carolina gives this year’s
Pride celebration an added sense of importance. Pending in the state
legislature are several anti-gay bills related to marriage and adoption
rights. Pride weekend is an ideal opportunity for the statewide LGBT
community to marshal against these right
wing attacks. see PRIDE on 4