CLARIFICATION: On Friday Oct. 10, the day of North Carolina's landmark federal court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Wake County's Register of Deeds, Laura M. Riddick, did not "make an announcement at 5 that nothing was going to happen."
That could be construed as Ms. Riddick misleading people, which is the opposite of what happened.
Ms. Riddick announced about 4:30 p.m. that, based on input from the two federal judges considering legal challenges to North Carolina's ban against same-sex marriage, no action WAS EXPECTED that day.
However, she told the press and those gathered outside her office the Registry would remain open until 5:30 p.m. as planned (15 minutes later than usual), just in case. Some people left, but others stayed.
U.S. District Court Judge Max Cogburn's procedural ruling came down at 5:28 p.m., and his ruling on the merits followed at 5:32 p.m. (There was no related N.C. or U.S. Supreme Court ruling that day.)
Ms. Riddick then issued the first North Carolina marriage license to a same-sex couple at 5:44 p.m., followed by 50 more like it (plus two licenses to opposite-sex couples) until the office closed at 9 p.m.
It was a historic day in North Carolina, and a joyous one for many loving, committed couples who got excellent customer service from Ms. Riddick and Wake County's highly professional Registry staff.
This important, controversial issue eventually will be decided in the federal courts. Meanwhile, thanks to Wake County officials, who don't make the law, for doing their jobs professionally and respectfully.
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