ACLU To Challenge NC's Gay Marriage Ban


by Audrina Bigos

CHARLOTTE, NC - Charlotte couple, Lee Knight Caffery and Dana Draa, have been together for eight years. Caffery gave birth to their two kids so she's the legal parent recognized by the state.

"We have no certainties about our family and being together as a cohesive unit," said Caffery.

The couple is part of a 2012 federal lawsuit against North Carolina for not recognizing same-sex couples as equal parents of children they bear or adopt.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is challenging those same-parent adoptions and the state's gay marriage ban.

The ACLU says it's challenging the state's law because it wants more protection for the children of same-sex couples - giving each partner the ability to make medical decisions for the kids and also giving them eligibiility for the same benefits as a traditional family.

"If Dana were to die, our children don't get social security survivor benefits and neither do I, so then I'm left with a gaping hole in my financial ability to raise these children," said Caffery.

But groups like the Charlotte Christian Chamber support the state's stance.

"God's structure is for husband and wife, a father and a mother, to nurture that child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," said Pat Baldridge, president of the Charlotte Christian Chamber.

In 2012, North Carolina voters backed an amendment to the state constitution, which says marriages between one man and one woman are the only legally recognized unions.

"I don't see any reason why the ACLU should go and disrupt that or try to do something other than that when the people have already spoken," said Baldridge.

The ACLU says it's fighting for couples like Caffery and Draa.

The ACLU's announcement comes almost two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. It gives married gay couples equal access to more than a thousand federal benefits, including social security and medicare

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