Archive for Register of Deeds


The Sudetenland will rise again

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Last October, Asheville, NC introduced America to Don Yelton on The Daily Show. You remember? The clip where Aasif Mandvi asked Yelton, “You know that we can hear you, right?” after the Republican precinct chair’s remark about “lazy blacks.”

This October, it’s a swastika photoshopped in front of city hall. Asheville is nothing if not colorful.

Known for its hipster arts scene, craft beer culture, and LGBT-friendly atmosphere, Asheville was dubbed “a cesspool of sin” in 2011 by James Forrester, the late Republican state senator. (You could buy tee shirts within hours.) As local gay couples on Thursday anticipated a federal order allowing same-sex marriages for the first time in North Carolina, city council members approved displaying a large rainbow flag from city hall. The local register’s office began issuing licenses late Friday.

So once more unto the breach, two Republican culture warriors — both known for publicity stunts — stepped up to strike back by photoshopping a Nazi flag in place of an image of the rainbow flag. The Sudetenland will rise again or something.

The two Republicans, former city councilman Carl Mumpower and former Buncombe County GOP chairman Chad Nesbitt, criticized the move saying the Asheville City Council’s decision to fly the flag (the council voted unanimously to display it) violated North Carolina open meeting laws.

“I am equating their methods with the Nazi movement,” Mumpower said according to the North Carolina newspaper. “They are indifferent to the rule of law and indifferent to the vote of the people. And that’s Adolph [sic] Hitler all over again in a different disguise.”

These proud, local characters stand as living proof that hippies and fall leaves are not the only local color in town.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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Love Won’t Be Denied

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This just hit my inbox. With Attorney General Roy Cooper’s earlier announcement regarding his support for marriage equality, this is going to make for an interesting and historic opportunity.

Buncombe County Register of Deeds Willing to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses; Requests Attorney General Review

 Asheville, North Carolina. Monday, October 14, 2013

Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger will be the first government official in the South to seek approval to grant same-sex marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Reisinger will accept and hold same-sex marriage applications and push the question of equal marriage rights to the state’s chief legal adviser, Attorney General Roy Cooper.

“I will let each couple know that it is my hope to grant them a license, but I need to seek the North Carolina Attorney General’s approval,” Reisinger said. “I have concerns about whether we are violating people’s civil rights based on this summer’s Supreme Court decision.

The Campaign for Southern Equality notified Reisinger that at least six same-sex couples would request marriage licenses Tuesday. Reisinger will allow the couples to complete and sign their applications. He will accept the applications but withhold his own signature.

“I will then let the Attorney General know that I would like to issue these couples licenses, but that I need his clarification on the laws of the state that seem to contradict the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Reisinger said.

Tuesday will be the first time same-sex couples have requested marriage licenses from Reisinger since the June 26 Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.


WE DO Campaign in Asheville on October 15

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This fall, we are traveling North Carolina with the WE DO Campaign, standing with LGBT couples as they request marriage licenses in their home counties. We are actively seeking a Register of Deeds who will issue a marriage license as an act of conscience.

Our tour is bringing us home to Asheville next week, as we join local LGBT couples at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 15. This will mark the fourth time that Carol McCrory and Brenda Clark have requested a license. Together for 25 years, Brenda and Carol have said they will keep going to the counter until they are served. We’d love to have supporters stand with them and other couples. Come to a Family Dinner on Monday to learn more and get trained for Tuesday’s action:

When: Monday, 10/14 | 6 – 7:30 PM

Where: Friendship Hall, First Congregational UCC, 20 Oak Street, Asheville


Note: Please bring a dish or beverage


Mary and Carole kiss after requesting a marriage license in Henderson County


So far this fall, we’ve been in Madison, Forsyth, Guilford, Henderson and Mecklenburg Counties. In Henderson County, Mary and Carole (pictured here) requested a license after 40 years together; they were denied, but, surrounded by 80 supporters, sent a powerful message that people are calling for full LGBT equality in Henderson County. Read about our action earlier this week in Charlotte here. Upcoming WE DO actions are scheduled for:

  • October 15: Buncombe County
  • November 1: Transylvania County
  • November 4: Cabarrus County
  • November 22: Rowan County


– Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara
Executive Director, Campaign for Southern Equality

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Tomorrow, we will stand with Amanda and Loraine as they ask the Madison County Register of Deeds to issue them a marriage license. With this action, they will be launching a new stage of the WE DO Campaign. In this stage, we are actively seeking a local elected official in the South who is ready to issue a LGBT couple a marriage license because it is the right thing to do. We will be traveling across North Carolina, standing with couples as they seek licenses in person. Couples across the South – from Texas to Alabama – are also writing to their local officials to ask if they will issue a license. We’re taking these actions because we believe that laws like Amendment One are unconstitutional and immoral. We believe it’s time to stand up to such laws in new ways.


That’s exactly what’s happening in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where Register of Wills Mr. Bruce Hanes began issuing licenses to same-sex couples a month ago. He believes that the Pennsylvania state law banning same-sex marriage  is unconstitutional and that enforcing it is inconsistent with his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. History tells us similar stories – of public officials and leaders who reached a point where they could no longer in good conscience enforce discriminatory laws. Will an elected official in the South stand up in this way? We’re going to keep asking the question and keep taking action to resist laws we know to be discriminatory.

Each elected official we ask to stand with us has a personal choice to make. Whatever their choice, we are committed to treating them with love and empathy. In an era of bitter partisan divides, we have a chance – and, I would say, an obligation – to treat each other differently. All of our work is based on empathic resistance, an ethic that calls for us to make two commitments as we seek equality. First, it calls for us to resist discriminatory laws by expressing who we truly are in public life. Second, it calls for us to express empathy – a recognition of the other’s humanity – in the very moments in which our humanity is denied. Sometimes it is hard to live this ethic out, but if we are seeking recognition of our love, we must also act with love.

That’s what Amanda and Loraine will be doing tomorrow. I’d invite you to read the letter that Amanda wrote to the Madison County Register of Deeds about why she wants to marry Loraine and have their marriage recognized in North Carolina. Her words made me stop in my tracks because they capture so much about what it is to be a LGBT person in the South, and what it means to ask others to stand with us.

Tomorrow, we’ll be sharing updates about what happens at the counter on our Facebook page and through Twitter.


Rediscovered History

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This story of making public these records at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds office was told in the newspaper awhile back. Now “Forever Free” retells that story, making it available to a wider audience.



The Day After

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What a night. Congratulations to all of the winners. I’m looking forward to working with you. It takes a lot to stand for election, so great respect to those who ran whether they won or not.

Congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election. He won Buncombe County by over 25,000 votes though we weren’t enough to hold North Carolina for him. That huge Buncombe County Democratic advantage didn’t show up in our local races due, in no small part, to recent redistricting that boxed Buncombe’s Democrats.

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Today’s the Day

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I’ll be outside a voting precinct today advocating for the candidates I support. Over 40% of Buncombe County’s eligible voters already cast a ballot during early voting. The weather today is cool to cold and a threat of rain all day. Americans for Prosperity (a.k.a. Koch Bros.) are paying people to work the polls, even here in Buncombe. Democrats, meanwhile, have volunteers out helping.

If you have any time today, help out at your polling place. An hour or two can make an enormous difference. Here’s a handy list of Democratic candidates if you need it. It tends to be the case that a lot of Election Day voters come in not necessarily knowing about downticket races like Register of Deeds, County Commission, or the referendum. That’s where your presence makes a big, big difference.

Whether or not you work a poll, here are some other things you can do today to help:

1) Email all of your contacts urging them to vote.
2) Text all of your contacts urging them to vote.
3) Call the slackers in your life and urge them to vote.
4) Offer rides to the polls to people who need them.
5) If you’re using social media like Facebook and Twitter, be sure to link people to the above list of candidates.

It’s gonna be a nail biter, folks. No matter what happens, we’ll get through it together.


2012 Democratic Candidates redux

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I posted this way back on October 18th, and I’ve had enough folks asking me for a list that I thought I’d put it atop the page again. Go vote, people!

You probably know just who to vote for in the Presidential race and the Congressional race. Maybe you even have your legislators and County Commissioners figured out. How many of you have the County School Board or statewide judicial races sussed? To help you sort out who’s who, the Buncombe County Democratic Party has put together a handy list of Democratic candidates. Use it if you want it, leave it if you don’t!

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Off The Blog, On The Street

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Hi, all. With early voting in high gear, it’s vital that folks get off their computers and down to their early voting sites. Our Buncombe County Democratic Party is doing a great job staffing the polls, but there are a few sites that still need some support. Email scrutiny hooligans AT yahoo . com if you can offer some noontime or afternoon hours to help do voter education!