North Carolina

North Carolina legal documents designed to protect your family no matter your relationship status

North Carolina

north_carolinaNorth Carolina

Rainbow Law has a document package designed to protect same-sex partners in North Carolina. We offer 9 unique Affordable Document Packages, Individual Legal Documents and FREE Advance Directives to help protect your rights and the rights of your family. To order a legal document package that complies with North Carolina law, hover your mouse over the “Buy A Package” link in the top menu and click on the package that best suits your needs in the drop-down list. If you’re not sure what package is right for you, click this link and we’ll help you figure out what you need.

Although the US Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay and lesbian couples legally married and living in a state that recognizes that marriage, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples living in North Carolina are not legally recognized as spouses even if they were married in a marriage equality state or country.

North Carolina same-sex partners and family members may experience discrimination in many different ways. Some of them, like snubbing by your family of origin or by complete strangers in a social setting, can’t be dealt with legally; they require a set of adaptive behaviors, including education, humor, and a thick skin. But typical anti-discrimination laws do cover several areas.

Here is a run-down on North Carolina law affecting the LGBTQ community:

1 Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: North Carolina recognizes neither same-sex marriages nor any other form of legal recognition of same sex-unions. In September 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly passed North Carolina Senate Bill 514 (2011) which put an amendment banning same-sex unions on the primary election ballot in May 2012. the measure passed after a vote of 30-16 in the state Senate and a vote of 74-42 in the state House. The amendment added to Section XVI of the North Carolina Constitution:

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.

North Carolina affords hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples though a designated visitor statute.

Two North Carolina towns, both in Orange County, North Carolina, have recognized and issued domestic partner registrations since 1995: Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Such registrations are recognized only by the issuing jurisdiction. In Chapel Hill, registration is open to all applicants regardless of residency. Registration in Carrboro is available to local residents only. In addition, three cities offer domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples: Asheville, Greensboro, and Durham. The counties of Durham, Orange, Mecklenburg, and Buncombe also offer these benefits.

2 Adoption Law: Some lower courts allowed second-parent adoptions until the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in 2010 in the case of Boseman v. Jarell that the state law did not permit adoption by a second unmarried person irrespective of the sex of those involved.

3 Anti-Discrimination Law: North Carolina outlaws discrimination based on religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap, but not sexual orientation or gender identity.The towns of Boone, Carrboro,and Chapel Hill and Orange County all have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while the cities of Raleigh and Charlotte have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation only. North Carolina’s hate crimes statute covers race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin, but neither sexual orientation nor gender identity.

The University of North Carolina system, which comprises North Carolina’s 16 public universities, has established a policy of non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and for students.

4 Sodomy Law: North Carolina’s Sodomy Law, though unenforceable, has not been repealed. In State v. Whiteley (2005), the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that the crime against nature statute, N.C. G.S. § 14-177, is not unconstitutional (Lawrence v. Texas) on its face because it may properly be used to criminalize sexual conduct involving minors, non-consensual or coercive conduct, public conduct, and prostitution.

5Public Opinion: A April 2013 Elon University Poll survey found that 43.2% of North Carolina residents support same-sex marriage, while 45.9% opposed, 10.5% didn’t know or had no opinion, and 0.5% refused to answer


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