A lesbian couple seeking a marriage license in Marion, N.C., encountered 150 anti–marriage equality protesters at the McDowell County courthouse Tuesday.
Keisha Hollifield and her partner, Dericka, sought the license as part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s We Do Campaign, an effort to bring marriage equality to the South. They were denied a license or even an application for one, reports The McDowell News.
The couple gathered outside the courthouse with about 30 to 40 supporters for a prayer led by Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, before going into the register of deeds’ office to ask for a license. “Let us stand tall,” Beach-Ferrara said. “Let us stay connected. Let us know we are doing your will.”
Nearby were about 150 antigay demonstrators with signs bearing slogans such as “Repent or perish” and “Better to Obey God. Rather than Man. Adam & Eve — Not Another Way,” the News reports.
Inside the courthouse, Dericka told Register of Deeds Tonia Hampton,“We are a loving couple and we want the right for our marriage to be recognized in this state. We love McDowell County and I was raised here.”
But because North Carolina law bans same-sex marriage, they did not receive the license.
“I am glad we could bring attention to this,” Dericka told reporters afterward. “Other couples can realize we’re not alone in this town.” The couple will travel to Washington, D.C., to be married Saturday.
The We Do Campaign has seen 115 same-sex couples seek marriage licenses across the South since 2011. McDowell is the 28th North Carolina county to see such an action. The next actions are planned for Louisville, Ky., and Greenville, S.C.
Watch video from McDowell County below.