After commentators spent most of the week watching the Middle District of North Carolina and the two cases in front of Judge Osteen, it was Judge Max O. Cogburn in the Western District of North Carolina who entered the formal order shortly after 5:00pm this evening determining "that North Carolina’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law."
Judge Cogburn denied intervention by North Carolina legislative leaders before issuing a permanent injunction prohibiting the state "from enforcing such laws to the extent these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same gender, prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages lawfully solemnized in other States, Territories, or a District of the United States, or seek to punish in any way clergy or other officiants who solemnize the union of same-sex couples."
Judge Cogburn explained in his order:
The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue and it is clear as a matter of what is now settled law in the Fourth Circuit that North Carolina laws prohibiting same sex marriage, refusing to recognize same sex marriages originating elsewhere, and/or threating to penalize those who would solemnize such marriages, are unconstitutional.
The Court's Orders appear below: