Soon after Amendment One banning gay marriage went into effect in North Carolina, it was challenged on constitutional grounds in federal court, but that case has stagnated in the Middle District (Greensboro) because Judge William Osteen appears to be waiting for the Fourth Circuit to make a decision about the Virginia ban on gay marriage, which was struck down by another federal judge in February. A Fourth Circuit ruling on Virginia could well also render unconstitutional North Carolina's hateful law.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed yesterday in North Carolina for an expedited decision, asking the judge to order North Carolina to recognize marriages performed in other states and to throw out its law that allows only one partner of unmarried couples to adopt.
Because ... of this, situations like that of Esmeralda Mejia and Christina Ginter-Mejia, a Hickory couple who were married in Maryland and who have a seven-year-old son. Here are the facts that prompted the ACLU to seek expedited legal relief for this and other North Carolina couples.
Because of North Carolina's inhumane and unconstitutional Amendment One, the couple's marriage is not recognized, nor are they both legally recognized as parents of the seven-year-old. Only Christina is recognized by NC law as a parent, while Esmeralda is "a legal stranger in her son's life," according to the ACLU.
Esmeralda is "a retired Army major and decorated Desert Storm veteran and has fought cancer for more than 20 years. The disease took part of a lung and three ribs. It also brought on a 2008 liver transplant and forces her to take a heavy battery of drugs." Neither the seven-year-old son nor Christina can receive any of Esmeralda's veteran’s or Social Security benefits as long as North Carolina doesn’t recognize the marriage.
Is there anything "Christian" about that?
Esmeralda fears that her next visit to the emergency room may be her last, and of course she worries about the future of her family.
While Judge Osteen waits for the Fourth Circuit to act, and we all hold our breath for what that court might decide, real North Carolina lives are hanging in the balance. The ACLU is saying, "These people can't afford to wait."