Asheville gay couples protest Amendment One - FOX Carolina 21

Asheville gay couples protest Amendment One

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Protesters sit on the floor of the Buncombe County Register of Deed's office. (May 11, 2012/FOX Carolina) Protesters sit on the floor of the Buncombe County Register of Deed's office. (May 11, 2012/FOX Carolina)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Gay couples in Buncombe County voiced their disapproval with a recently passed constitutional amendment in North Carolina during a sit-in Friday.

Amendment One passed by a wide margin during the state's primary election Tuesday. The amendment defined the only legal domestic union in the state as between one man and one woman.

On Friday, 20 gay couples from across the Asheville area walked into the county's Register of Deeds and applied for a marriage license.

"We've been a couple for 30 years," said one of the couples. "We've raised two daughters and have four grandchildren."

All of them knew they would be turned away.

SLIDESHOW: Gay couples protest Amendment One

"According to North Carolina state law, and now, the North Carolina Constitution, we're going to deny you all's request for a marriage license today," Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger told one of the couples.

Despite turning them away, Reisinger said it is not something he enjoys doing.

"It breaks your heart to deny people the same rights that you grant other people all day long," Reisinger said.

Eight people took a seat in front of the counter - a non-violent way of showing their disapproval of the new law. All eight of them were arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing.

"By being arrested, we bring attention to the fact that this inequality is going on," said Susan Walton, a protester. "If that's what it takes, that's what we'll do."

"We want people to know that we're a loving group," said Amy Cantrell, another protester. "We're standing up not only for equality, but (also) equality for all our neighbors."

Buncombe County was the only county in the state's mountain region, and only one of nine statewide, that voted against the controversial amendment.

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