By L.A. Williams, correspondent
Christian Action League
GREENSBORO — A lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s marriage license requirements has been amended to show that the plaintiffs, which include Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen, do not represent other registers of deeds across the state.
According to a letter from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Norman Smith, to Wayne Rash, president of the N.C. Association of Registers of Deeds, he amended the complaint removing the “class action allegations.” His amendment came after Rash, register of deeds in Caldwell County, and those in at least three other counties had written to clarify that they did not share Thigpen’s opinion of the state’s marriage laws and did not want to be affiliated with the case.
As the suit was originally filed, Thigpen claimed to act as a class representative on behalf of “all of the registers of deeds of North Carolina,” and promised to “… fairly insure the adequate representation of all the members of the class.”
But Rash’s letter made it clear that Thigpen did not represent the N.C. Association of Registers of Deeds or his fellow registers.
“Our Association does not endorse nor are we a party to this legal action,” he wrote Dec. 16, about a week after the case was filed. The complaint was then changed via an amendment dated Dec. 28, 2011.
On Friday, Rash sent out an e-mail to registers across the state letting them know that the class action language had been removed. His e-mail said he had received “several inquiries from other Registers wanting to know what the status of this was.”
“No doubt these registers that are sworn to uphold the laws of North Carolina, wanted to make it clear Thigpen does not represent them,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We’re glad to see this case clarified.”
Thigpen and his co-plaintiffs claim in the suit that having potential couples apply for a marriage license amounts to a state establishment of religion.
For more on the suit, see this web site’s Jan. 5 posting below: