Former North Carolina small town mayor Mark Chilton was elected as Orange County register of deeds yesterday. Chilton campaigned on a promise to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Chilton announced earlier this year that, if elected, he would violate state law and the Register of Deeds’ oath of office by issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Doing so could bring misdemeanor charges and removal from office. The real estate attorney said Article 1 and Article 6 of the N.C. Constitution, which includes the oath of office, defer to the U.S. Constitution when there are conflicts. Chilton said he would stop if a court orders it.
Orange County is the home to UNC Chapel Hill. The anti-gay Christian Action League is not happy.
“No doubt, some same-sex marriage promoters are beyond thrilled with the prospect of having a Register of Deeds who will pull such a stunt,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But as we’ve mentioned before, renegade registers who issue marriage licenses improperly will just create a legal quagmire detrimental to folks on both sides of the issue.”
NOTE: Chilton won the Democratic primary but no Republicans filed to run. He will run unopposed in November.