The law regarding same-sex couples is still developing and changing.

In 2010, 12% of all couples in a domestic partnership in North Carolina were same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in North Carolina.  An amendment to the state constitution called Amendment 1 was adopted by a vote of NC citizens in May 2012 that defined a marriage as only being between a man and a woman.  The amendment reads, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”  The passing of this amendment was very controversial and received nation-wide attention.

Because same-sex marriage is not recognized in North Carolina, this means that same-sex couples do not receive many of the same rights and protections under the law as opposite-sex married couples.  For example, laws on inheritance that say the surviving spouse automatically receives everything upon the death of the other spouse cannot apply to same-sex couples. 

Although same-sex marriage is not recognized in North Carolina, some cities in the state recognize same-sex domestic partnerships.  Same-sex couples can register in these cities, and they are only legally recognized in the city in which they are registered.  This registration allows same-sex couples to receive and share employee health benefits.  The following places allow registration of same-sex domestic partnerships: Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Orange County as a whole, Greensboro, Mecklenburg County as a whole, and Asheville.  The definition of a domestic partnership differs in each city that allows registration. 

Sexual activity between same-sex partners is not prohibited in NC.  However, there is a law prohibiting sodomy but it is not enforced.

Same-sex couples cannot adopt a child together in NC.  Only married couples can adopt a child together, so since same-sex couples cannot get married, they cannot adopt together.  A single person can adopt a child, however, regardless of sexual orientation.  As of June 2012, NC same-sex couples have sued the state regarding this law stating that it is discriminatory and violates their constitutional rights.

The law regarding same-sex couples is still developing and changing.

NC Lawyer Search

+ Optional Search Criteria

Get listed on Waypoint Legal for free! ABCNC Public Records Advertise with