ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A lesbian couple twice refused a marriage license by the Buncombe County Register of Deeds refused to leave the government office today and initiated a sit-in. The two were arrested.
Rev. Kathryn Cartledge and Elizabeth Eve, her partner of 30 years, were among the first couples to request a license last weekas a part of the Coalition for Southern Equality’s “We Do” Campaign. They were the last couple request a license for a second time today and refused to leave the office after their denial.
The two were arrested at about 4 p.m. after being asked to leave and continuing their sit-in. They have been charged with trespassing and were immediately released by local law enforcement.
The civil disobedience was the culmination of a two-week-long campaign organized by the Coalition for Southern Equality and comes as campaigns form to defeat an anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment on marriage and civil unions.
About two dozen same-sex couples have been denied marriage licenses over the course of the group’s “We Do” Campaign. The group organized several couples in requesting the licenses each weekday since Oct. 3.
Coalition for Southern Equality Executive Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara has described her group’s campaign as a social justice movement. She says it is time to demand full equality for LGBT people.
“Today’s action is about real people saying, I will no longer live as a second-class citizen in my country,” Beach-Ferrara said in a statement following the arrests.
“Kathryn and Elizabeth have devoted their lives to public service and to the values of love and fairness. Today, they stand up not just for their right to be marry, but for all LGBT people who know first hand how harmful these laws are. We are saying, simply, we are equal people. Laws that treat us as unequal must change. We will continue to resist them until they do.”