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DURHAM – Six same-sex North Carolina couples are speaking out not only against the state’s ban on gay marriage, but also on the rights for their children. According to a WRAL report, the American Civil Liberties Union says it will amend a federal law suit filed last year on behalf of those six couples where one partner wanted to adopt the other’s child.
The ACLU says it plans to launch a challenge to North Carolina’s ban on gay marriage, a ban solidified by an amendment to the state constitution that passed last year that prohibits the legal recognition of unions between same-sex couples.
The ACLU argues that marriage would provide same-sex couples a number of benefits for their children, including health insurance coverage if one parent lacks it, the permission of either parent to make medical decisions or to be by a child’s bedside if hospitalized, and the prevention from children being torn away from their home if something should happen to the biologically or legally recognized parent.
One of the couples in the 2012 lawsuit, Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne, were legally married in Washington, D.C. in 2011 and currently live in Durham. The couple has two children, a five-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, each carried by one of the two women. When their daughter was born, the couple met resistance from a hospital staff member who demanded their legal paperwork—the ACLU argues that encounters like this could be avoided if they were legally married in NC.
WCHL spoke with Chantelle to hear about how NC’s ban affects her family as well as other North Carolina families.
“Having marriage rights for same-sex couples is the best way to provide the safety net for our families, those of us who have kids,” she says.
Chantelle says having the original adoption rights case expand to include the ban on same-sex marriage is an important step, especially given the recent decision of the Supreme Court to declare DOMA unconstitutional.
“(With) lots of changes happening around the conversation of marriage rights, it was the perfect opportunity considering the changes in the laws,” Chantelle says.
And ultimately, Chantelle says she wants the same rights as any other parent who gave birth and raised a child.
“It directly affects any same-sex couple in North Carolina and many states across the US. Being a legal stranger to your kid who you’ve raised since they were born is disconcerting to say the least, and something we want to change,” says Chantelle.