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Equality NC: "The Case for the Freedom to Marry Has Never Been More Clear."

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonah Hermann, Equality NC, 919.578.5428, jonah@equalitync.org

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Raleigh, N.C. – Equality NC, North Carolina's largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, reacted to today's U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments surrounding cases from four states–Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee–on the issue of marriage equality. Today's historic testimony sets the stage for the nation's highest court to provide a national resolution on the question of same-sex couples' fundamental freedom to marry in all 50 states.

Equality NC's Executive Director Chris Sgro responded by saying that the "case for the freedom to marry has never been more clear."

"Today, we represent the majority of North Carolinians who stand united with loving, committed same-sex couples across these four states and the entire country to say once and for all that the time for a national resolution on the freedom to marry is now," said Sgro. "In the months since we celebrated marriage equality in North Carolina last year, we've experienced what it's like to have 37 states plus the District of Columbia embrace our marriages, a national supermajority in favor of same-sex couples' constitutional freedom to marry, and growing bipartisan support in all political parties and regions of the country in favor of marriage equality. The case for the freedom to marry has never been more clear, and we'll continue to make it both inside and outside of the Supreme Court until love has finally won in all of the places we call home."

North Carolina’s same-sex couples are also eagerly anticipating a Supreme Court resolution, as some look ahead to a favorable decision’s potential legal and cultural impact for them and their families. Amid a tidal wave of lower court decisions in favor of the freedom to marry, a February 2015 poll from CNN/ORC found that 63% of Americans believe that same-sex couples have a constitutional freedom to marry. The poll also showed that there is a majority support for marriage in every region of the country, as well as majority support in every age group (with 52% of Americans over the age of 65 saying they support marriage for same-sex couples and 70% of respondents under 50).

Shawn Long, of Wake Forest, N.C., who legally married his long-time partner Craig Johnson in North Carolina last fall, said he looks forward to a favorable ruling not only for this legal recognition of the nation's many same-sex couples, but also the important protections it can provide the children they raise.

"I am thrilled that the Supreme Court is finally taking up the issue of marriage equality and am looking forward to all Americans being given access to the thousands of legal rights and responsibilities that come with the civil contract of marriage," said Long. "My husband and I have been together for 20 years and have only been able to be married in North Carolina since last October. I am just now finalizing the step-parent adoption of our 13-year-old son, and am happy to know that our son will finally have the protection of two legal parents."

Long added, "I cannot wait for all LGBT families to have the legal protections for their spouses and children that the rest of our country has enjoyed since it was founded. America is based on the concept of equality, and the Supreme Court will doubtlessly affirm this ideal for all citizens, including LGBT Americans."

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