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A group of North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to end a program that provides money to counties that have refused to enforce North Carolina laws that regulate same-sex marriage, a policy that’s helped keep families together despite the presence of same-sex couples.
The bill, called the “Non-Legislative Resolution on Marriage Enforcement,” would direct the state board of education — which oversees public schools — to refuse to implement “any rule, policy or program or any action taken by any local jurisdiction regulating marriage, adoption, domestic partnership or family relationships.”
That includes a county’s nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ individuals and families.
The bill was introduced in the House last week and sent to the Senate, where it will almost assuredly be defeated.
Supporters of the bill argued that it is a common-sense approach to help prevent conflicts as couples, particularly in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in June to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
“These are families, these are our children,” said state Rep. Ken Lambert (R-Forsyth), one of the sponsors of the bill.
“And if a couple cannot live together peacefully because their county and their city are blocking them when they need to be allowed into their homes … this isn’t an issue about religion. It’s about equality and access and freedom.”
If passed, the bill would essentially allow any county to remove a child from his or her mother, father, spouse or civil union partner and place them with opposite-sex parents, something that state courts have allowed for years.
The bill would require the state board of education to consider the “unlawful interference” of the county by a law restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, and would require the board to give up responsibility for those counties in the event that a county removed an LGBTQ family from the county’s registry without the consent of the child.
The board could waive those requirements to keep a child in the registry after receiving a court order or “filing a motion with court.”
The county would still hold the power to maintain a list of family members and their roles unless they have “clear and convincing” evidence that removing a family member would cause them harm. As
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