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NC Leaders Want U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Same-Sex Marriage Case

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Jeff Kubina
/
Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina's legislative leaders will try to bypass a federal appeals court and take the case over the state's same-sex marriage ban straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal judge in Asheville struck down North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban in October. Since then, roughly 375 same-sex couples have married in Mecklenburg County alone, according to the county Register of Deeds.

The state's Republican Senate and House leaders are appealing the decision. But the federal court that would normally be the next step – the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – has already struck down a similar ban in Virginia.

So North Carolina lawmakers want to skip that step. 

"That's unusual," says Professor Carl Tobias, an expert on federal courts and constitutional law at the University of Richmond.

"It's extremely rare that the Supreme Court would take that," he says, "especially in this area, where it hasn't even taken a number of cases that have gone to the appeals courts and been decided."

That includes the Virginia case, which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review in October.

Nonetheless, North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger says he and House Speaker-Designee Tim Moore will file a petition this week asking the Supreme Court to review North Carolina's case.