Gay Marriage Movement Expands to More States

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Supporters of traditional marriage rallied in the president's home state of Illinois this week.

Thousands gathered at the capitol to urge lawmakers to back traditional marriage, even as a smaller crowd of pro-gay activists showed up as well.

For the second time this year traditional marriage supporters managed to hold off a vote in this high-stakes state.

"It is where Barack Obama came from," Bishop Lance Davis with the African-American Clergy Coalition told CBN News. "It is the state that he promised the LGBT community and lobbyists that he would be able to win for them."

Davis and other conservatives say black lawmakers in the Illinois House are making the difference, refusing to redefine marriage.

In the South, LGBT activists are using a different strategy.

Gay couples are targeting county clerks, asking them to record their marriage licenses from other states. They're even using the tactic in North Carolina, where voters just last year approved a constitutional amendment in favor of traditional marriage.

"What we wanted to do was just to create a public record of our marriage," Amy Leonhart said about filing a gay marriage license.

Sherri Rogers with the Haywood County Registrar said she "did not see any legal reason why I could not record that document."

The National Organization for Marriage said filing gay marriage licenses in these states is illegal and predicts the cases will ultimately end up in court.

"A same-sex couple who is issued a same-sex marriage license in a state like North Carolina invariably will take it to the courts and use it as a lever to try and invalidate that state's constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman," Chris Plante, with the National Organization for Marriage, told CBN News.

In New Mexico, the Supreme Court will soon decide on the issue. Its consideration was forced after seven county clerks began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in absence of any state law explicitly defining marriage.

What just happened in New Jersey may strengthen the case for gay marriage. A judge there ruled that the state must allow gay marriages to comply with Supreme Court rulings this past summer.

Lawsuits in 20 other states are making the same case, but traditional marriage supporters disagree.

"They're using an incorrect reading of the Windsor decision because in the defense of marriage, states are allowed to define marriage for themselves," Plante explained.

At this point, 14 states have redefined marriage to include gay couples, and 35 states have banned gay marriage. They're numbers that could change drastically, depending on how these tactics play out.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.