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Religious Tolerance logo

Seeking marriage equality in North Carolina

Part 8:
2014: United Church of Christ's lawsuit
seeking marriage equality (Continued).

Statement by Rev. G.A. Black, UCC President.
Responses by the public.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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On this web site, the acronym "SSM" means same-sex marriages;
"LGBT" refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/transsexual community;
"marriage equality" refers to state laws and a state constitution
that allows both opposite-sex and same-sex couples to marry.

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wedding rings2014-APR-28: Unusual lawsuit filed by United Church of Christ and other plaintiffs (Cont'd):

As mentioned in the previous essay, the United Church of Christ (UCC) is the principal plaintiff.

  • Other plaintiffs are referred to as "clergy plaintiffs" or "minister plaintiffs." They include one or more liberal clergy from:
    • the United Church of Christ,

    • the Reform Judaism,

    • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,

    • The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

    • Pullen Memorial Baptist Church 1 in Raleigh. It is a liberal congregation now affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. One interesting item from the history of Pullen illustrates the gulf between its beliefs & practices, and those of most Baptist churches. A history of the Church states:

      "After lengthy discussion and prayer, Pullen endorsed unqualified acceptance of gay/lesbian Christians in 1992. Within the year Pullen was excluded from the Raleigh Baptist Association, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and the Southern Baptist Convention. 2

  • A third set of plaintiffs are "couple plaintiffs" -- same-sex couples, many of which are members of the Plaintiff Denomination or congregants of the clergy plaintiffs. They are:
    • Kay Diane Ansley and Catherine McGaughey, who have been partners for 14 years.

    • Elizabeth Cloninger and Kathleen Smith, partners for 13 years.

    • Shauna Bragan and Stacy Maloney, partners for 7 years.

    • Cathy Fry and Joanne Marinaro, partners for 28 years.

    • Joel Blady and Jeffrey Addy, partners for 3 years.

    • Betty Mack and Carol Taylor, partners for 41 years.

Blady and Addy did not apply for a marriage licenses because they knew that it would be futile to do so. All of the remaining couple plaintiffs had experienced the humiliation of having applied for a license to marry and be denied.

  • The lead defendant in the case is the state Attorney General, who is joined by various Registers of Deeds, and District Attorneys of various counties.

    They are: Roy Cooper, the Attorney General of North Carolina; Drew Reisinger, the Register of Deeds for Buncombe County; Ronald L. Moore, the District Attorney for Buncombe County; Wayne Nixon, Register of Deeds for Cabarrus County; Roxann Vaneekhoven, District Attorney for Cabarrus County; Tonia Hampton, Register of Deeds for McDowell County; Bradley Greenway, District Attorney for McDowell County; J. David Granberry, Register of Deeds for Mecklenburg County; Andrew Murray, District Attorney for Mecklenburg County; Laura M. Riddick, Register of Deeds for Wake County; and Ned Mangum, District Attorney for Wake County.

All are being sued in their official capacity only.

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Statement by Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister & President of the UCC:


Comments posted by viewers of the UCC/You Tube video:

  • "CompletedTestamentTV:" "Since Jesus said in Matt 10:8-9 :"For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."… Today the UCC made it clear to the whole world that they are not affiliated with Jesus and cannot claim to be a Christian Denomination."

    • Response by B.A. Robinson, main author of this web site: "Have you ever thought of the possibility, no matter how slim, that you might be wrong in your interpretation of this biblical passage?

      When Jesus said those words, same-sex marriage was not available to loving, committed same-sex couples. Thus, he might have been simply referring to those couples who were able to marry and have their relationship recognized."

  • Traci Rowland: "Thank you UCC, so much."

  • Meri justus: "I hope you win this Law suit. y'all GO!!"

  • Particia Boese: "Thank you for holding up a lantern of light for all of us who are fighting for true equality for our LGBT sons and daughters and brothers and sisters.  You give us hope on this journey and I appreciate it."

  • "pavioc16:" "Thank you so much! Although I live in Connecticut, which has had same-sex marriage for a while, it is heartening to see the UCC step up and stand for religious freedom. It has always been upsetting to me that some people have misused the term to actually, in my view, limit religious freedom.

    The comments of others who argue with the theological positions of some UCC Pastors just goes to highlight why freedom of religion is so important. The whole point of the concept is that people will disagree, or the concept doesn't make much sense.

    Edit: To clarify, those comments aren't here, they have largely been made elsewhere. I have yet to see a response from the National Organization for Marriage, however. I am quite interested in what they'll have to say.

  • Jake Preston: "I'm proud to be a member of Trinity UCC, Concord, one of the plaintiffs."

  • Joseph Shore-Goss: "Proud to be UCC."

  • Brian Mattes: "Where do I send a contribution?"

  • David Huber: "Exciting! Way to go, UCC!" 3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Home page, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 2014, at:
  2. "A short history of Pullen," Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 2014, at:
  3. "A Message from the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black," The United Church of Christ/You Tube, 2014-APR, at:

Copyright © 2012 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-MAY-02
Latest update: 2014-MAY-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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