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Mary and Carol

On October 2, 2013, Mary and Carol, residents of Henderson County, North Carolina, will request a marriage license at the Henderson County Register of Deeds’ office as the WE DO Campaign continues to grow across North Carolina. You can read about their life together below as told by Mary:

In 1974, Mary and Carole made a life-long commitment to be there for each other. We each had four children from our previous marriages. In 1974 their ages were 18 to 9. The 1970’s were difficult. We sent more than one psychologist around the world as we went through the process of learning how to cope with angry and confused children and our own homophobia.

As the years passed, our children grew up, got married and gave us 13 grandchildren. Through those years, love won out and today our relationship is celebrated by all. In 2014, we will celebrate our 40th anniversary and our 80th birthdays.

We are excited about having a small part in the “WE DO” campaign in Hendersonville, NC. Never did we dream that in our lifetime marriage of gay people would be discussed or a possibility. After hiding out for many years, we are proud to now stand up for what is fundamentally just and constitutionally right. We believe strongly that all peoples, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to stand before a judge and say “I do” and in so doing receive the same rights and privileges that married people have both federally and in their states.

Our children and grandchildren, as well as our friends, are thrilled that we are taking this step to speak out for justice. Unfortunately, our children all live a distance. However, one of them is driving to be with us and walk by our side when we apply for a marriage license from the Register of Deeds office.

We thank the Campaign for Southern Equality for the excellent work they are doing in the Southern States and celebrate that we can participate in the ongoing struggle for equal rights for all.

You can send Mary and Carole a message of support here and read their letter to the Henderson County Register of Deeds below.

Mary and Carole

(This letter was sent before the court ruling in Pennsylvania concerning Mr. Hanes issuing marriage licenses.)

Dear Honorable Nedra W. Moles,

I am a resident of Henderson County. My partner and I have been in a same-sex relationship and  would like to marry. I am writing to inquire whether you would grant us a marriage license if we came to your office to apply in person? We plan to come and apply on Wednesday, October 2.

Carole Kaiser and I have been in relationship for 40 years. We helped raise eight children together and today enjoy the blessing of having 13 grandchildren. We would like to celebrate our commitment to each other and to our families in marriage. We feel that we have earned all the benefits that are bestowed by the United States of America and the state of North Carolina on married couples. Our commitment has been no less than that of a married couple.

I recognize that the laws of North Carolina prohibit same-sex marriage, but I believe this law is unconstitutional. You may already be familiar with a recent development in Pennsylvania in which a Register of Wills, Mr. Bruce Hanes, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in his county. Pennsylvania has a ban similar to our state’s but Mr. Hanes believes it to be in violation of basic principles of the state and federal constitutions and thus an unjust law. As of today, the licenses he has issued to same-sex couples have not been challenged and he continues to hold office as Register of Wills. (More information is available here: Elected officials took similar position in California and New York, prior to marriage laws changing in those states.

I look forward to your response.


Mary Burson

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