Orange County Register of Deeds race and Amendment One
ThinkProgress has a story on one low-level race that could have a big impact for LGBTs in the state.
On the surface, the election appears somewhat mundane: Chilton defeated incumbent Deborah Brooks in the Democratic primary for the Orange County, North Carolina register of deeds, a seemingly innocuous government position primarily tasked with keeping track of county real estate practices and issuing birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses. What makes the election interesting to LGBT advocates is Chilton’s unusual campaign promise: upon taking office, Chilton has vowed to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though doing so would violate “Amendment 1,” a North Carolina law passed in May 2012 making it illegal to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions in the state.
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Chilton—who is also the former mayor of Carrboro, North Carolina and author of a book on the land records of Orange County—argued that the recent string of federal court cases striking down state bans on same-sex marriage prove that North Carolina’s Amendment 1 is unconstitutional. Thus, given that the oath of office for NC elected officials requires him always to uphold the U.S. Constitution first and the North Carolina constitution second, Chilton plans to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses as part of his legal duty.
Depending on the different cases winding their way through the courts, Chilton's campaign promise may be moot by the time November roles around. It's going to be an interesting mid-term election.