THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
1:14-cv-299

ELLEN W. GERBER, et al.,

Plaintiffs,


v.

ROY COOPER, in his official capacity as
the Attorney General of North Carolina,
et al.,

Defendants.





DEFENDANT CATAWBA COUNTY
REGISTER OF DEEDS’ ANSWER AND
AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES


NOW COMES Defendant, Donna Hicks Spencer, in her official capacity as the Catawba
County Register of Deeds, (hereinafter “Defendant Spencer”) without waiving any motions or
defenses not set out herein, in answer to Plaintiffs’ Complaint.
ANSWER AND FIRST AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

RESPONSE TO ENUMERATED PARAGRAPHS:
1. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 1 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 1, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 1 are
denied.
2. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 2.
3-8. To the extent that the allegations in these Paragraphs constitute conclusions of
law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth
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in Paragraphs 3 through 8, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information
to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in
Paragraphs 3 through 8 are denied.
RESPONSE TO MARRIAGE

9. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 9 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 9, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny.
Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 9 are denied.
10. The allegations contained in Paragraph 10 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are
admitted upon information and belief. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 10
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
11-12. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 11 through 12 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 11 through 12, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 11 through 12 are denied.
RESPONSE TO ADOPTION

13-15. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 13 through 15 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 13 through 15, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 13 through 15 are denied.

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RESPONSE TO CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATIONS
16. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 16 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 16, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 16 are
denied.
17. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 17 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 17, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 17 are
denied. In further response and defense of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 17, Defendant
Spencer asserts the following with respect to subparagraphs 17(a) and 17(b) as follows:
(a-b) To the extent that the allegations m subparagraphs 17(a) and 17(b) constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in subparagraphs 17(a) and 17(b), Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in subparagraphs 17(a) and 17(b) are denied.
18. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 18.
RESPONSE TO NATURE OF THE ACTION
19. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 19 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 19, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
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deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 19 are
denied.
RESPONSE TO JURISDICTION AND VENUE
20. Upon information and belief, it is admitted that Plaintiffs are asserting a cause
of action under 42 U.S.C § 1983 pursuant to the Plaintiffs’ assertions in Paragraph 20. To
the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 20 constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions
are neither admitted nor denied.
21. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 21 constitute conclusions of
law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set
forth in Paragraph 21, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to
admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 21
are denied.
22. The allegations in Paragraph 22 are admitted as to Defendant Spencer and
admitted as to the remaining Defendants, upon information and belief.
23. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 23 constitute conclusions of
law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set
forth in Paragraph 23, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to
admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 23
are denied.
RESPONSE TO THE NORTH CAROLINA MARRIAGE LAWS
RESPONSE TO THE NORTH CAROLINA MARRIAGE STATUTES
24. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 24 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 24, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
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deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 24 are
denied.
25. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 25 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 25, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 25 are
denied.
RESPONSE TO THE NORTH CAROLINA ANTI-MARRIAGE AMENDMENT
(“AMENDMENT ONE”)
26. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 26 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 26, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 26 are
denied.
27. It is admitted that Paragraph 27 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint quotes Amendment
One and N.C. Const. art. XIV, § 6. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 27 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
28. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 28 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 28, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraphs 28 are
denied. In further response and defense of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 28, Defendant
Spencer asserts the following with respect to subparagraphs 28(a) through 28(e) as follows:
(a-e) To the extent that the allegations in subparagraphs 28(a) through 28(e) constitute
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conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in subparagraphs 28(a) through 28(e), Defendant Spencer is without
sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in subparagraphs 28(a) through 28(e) are denied.
29-30. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 29 through 30 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 29 through 30, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 29 through 30 are denied.
RESPONSE TO OTHER BARRIERS TO MARRIAGE
HAVE BEEN STRUCK DOWN
31-47. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 31 through 47 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 31 through 47, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 31 through 47 are denied.
RESPONSE TO ANY ALLEGED STATE INTEREST IN FORBIDDING MARRIAGE
IS SUBJECT TO HEIGTENED SCRUTINY

48-64. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 48 through 64 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 48 through 64, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 48 through 64 are denied.

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RESPONSE TO THE NORTH CAROLINA ADOPTION STATUTES
65-69. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 65 through 69 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 65 through 69, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 65 through 69 are denied.
70. It is admitted that Paragraph 70 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint quotes N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 48-1-101(18). To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 70 constitute conclusions
of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
71-76. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 71 through 76 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 71 through 76, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 71 through 76 are denied.
RESPONSE TO OTHER STATES GRANT SECOND PARENT ADOPTION,
RECOGNIZING THAT SUCH ADOPTIONS ARE IN THE BEST INTERESTS
OF CHILDREN

77-82. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 77 through 82 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 77 through 82, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 77 through 82 are denied.




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RESPONSE TO WHILE NORTH CAROLINA PROHIBITS ADOPTION BY SECOND
PARENTS, NORTH CAROLINA LAWS AND POLICIES
OTHERWISE RECOGNIZE THE VALUE THAT GAY AND LESBIAN COUPLES
PROVIDE AS PARENTS

83-89. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 83 through 89 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 83 through 89, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 83 through 89 are denied.
RESPONSE TO DE FACTO PARENT DOCTRINE
90-96. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 90 through 96 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 90 through 96, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 90 through 96 are denied.
RESPONSE TO FORBIDDING APPLICATIONS FOR SECOND PARENT
ADOPTION ADVANCES NO COMPELLING
OR EVEN LEGITIMATE STATE PURPOSE

97-104. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 97 through 104 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 97 through 104, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 97 through 104 are denied.





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RESPONSE TO PARTIES

RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS

RESPONSE TO ESMERALDA MEJIA, CHRISTINA GINTER-MEJIA, AND J.G.-M

105-110. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraphs 105
through 110 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in
Paragraphs 105 through 110 constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted
nor denied.
111. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 111 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 111, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 111 are
denied.
112. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 112 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 112, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 112 are
denied. In further response and defense of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 112,
Defendant Spencer asserts the following with respect to subparagraphs 112(a) through 112(d) as
follows:
(a-d) To the extent that the allegations in subparagraph 112(a) through 112(d) constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in subparagraph 112(a) through 112(d), Defendant Spencer is without
sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
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remaining allegations in subparagraph 112(a) through 112(d) are denied.
113-114. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraphs 113
through 114 of the Plaintiff’s Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in
Paragraphs 113 through 114 constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted
nor denied.
115. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiff’s allegations contained in Paragraph 115.
116. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraph 116 of the
Plaintiff’s Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 116
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
117-120. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiffs’ allegations contained in Paragraphs 117 through 120.
121. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraph 121 of the
Plaintiff’s Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 121
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
122-123. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiffs’ allegations contained in Paragraphs 122 through 123.
124-132. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 124 through 132 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 124 through 132, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 124 through 132 are denied.


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RESPONSE TO ELLEN W. GERBER AND PEARL BERLIN

133-137. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraphs 133
through 137 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in
Paragraphs 133 through 137 constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted
nor denied.
138. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 138 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 138, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 138 are
denied.
139. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 139 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 139, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 139 are
denied. In further response and defense of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 139,
Defendant Spencer asserts the following with respect to subparagraphs 139(a) through 139(e)
as follows:
(a-e) To the extent that the allegations in subparagraphs 139(a) through 139(e)
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any
remaining allegations set forth in subparagraphs 139(a) through 139(e), Defendant Spencer is
without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth
above, the remaining allegations in subparagraphs 139(a) through 139(e) are denied.

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RESPONSE TO LYN MCCOY AND JANE BLACKBURN
140-142. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraphs 140
through 142 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in
Paragraphs 140 through 142 constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither
admitted nor denied.
143. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 143.
144. Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 144.
145. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraph 145 of the
Plaintiffs’ Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 145
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
146. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 146 constitute conclusions of
law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set
forth in Paragraph 146, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to
admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph
146 are denied.
147. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 147 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 147, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 147 are
denied. In further response and defense of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 147,
Defendant Spencer asserts the following with respect to subparagraphs 147(a) through 147(e) as
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follows:
(a-e) To the extent that the allegations in subparagraphs 147(a) through 147(e)
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any
remaining allegations set forth in subparagraphs 147(a) through 147(e), Defendant Spencer is
without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth
above, the remaining allegations in subparagraphs 147(a) through 147(e) are denied.
RESPONSE TO HARMS SUFFERED BY PLAINTIFFS
AS RESULT OF BEING DENIED THE FREEDOM TO MARRY
148-150. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 148 through 150 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 148 through 150, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 148 through 150 are denied.
151. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 151 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 151, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 151 are
denied. In further response and defense of the Plaintiffs’ allegations in Paragraph 151,
Defendant Spencer asserts the following with respect to subparagraphs 151(a) through 151(q)
as follows:
(a-e) To the extent that the allegations in subparagraphs 151(a) through 151(q) constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in subparagraphs 151(a) through 151(q), Defendant Spencer is without
sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
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remaining allegations in subparagraphs 151(a) through 151(q) are denied.
152-163. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 152 through 163 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 152 through 163, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 152 through 163 are denied.
RESPONSE TO HARMS SUFFERED BY PLAINTIFFS
AS A RESULT OF NORTH CAROLINA'S CATEGORICAL ROHIBITION
AGAINST SECOND PARENT ADOPTION

164-194. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 164 through 194 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 164 through 194, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 164 through 194 are denied.
RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS
195-197. The allegations contained in Paragraphs 195 through 197 of the Plaintiffs’
Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 195 through 197
constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
198-199. Defendant Guilford County Register of Deeds, under North Carolina law,
performs the ministerial function of recording death certificates which have been created and
approved by a local registrar pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-97 (duties of local registrars)
and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-99 (register of deeds to preserve copies of birth and death records).
Article 2, Chapter 161 of North Carolina General Statutes outlines the duties of the Register of
Deeds. The duties do not include registering out-of-state marriage licenses. N.C. Gen. Stat. §
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161-10(a) (fees for registering instruments); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 161-14 (registration of
instruments). Therefore, the allegations contained in Paragraphs 198 through 199 of the
Plaintiffs’ Complaint are denied.
200. The allegations contained in Paragraph 200 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are
admitted. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 200 constitute conclusions of law, said
conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
201-202. Defendant Spencer, under North Carolina law, performs the ministerial
function of recording death certificates which have been created and approved by a local
registrar pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-97 (duties of local registrars) and N.C. Gen. Stat. §
130A-99 (register of deeds to preserve copies of birth and death records). Article 2, Chapter 161
of North Carolina General Statutes outlines the duties of the Register of Deeds. The duties do
not include registering out-of-state marriage licenses. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 161-10(a) (fees for
registering instruments); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 161-14 (registration of instruments). Therefore, the
allegations contained in Paragraphs 201 through 202 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are denied.
203-209. Upon information and belief, the allegations contained in Paragraphs 203
through 209 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are admitted. To the extent that the allegations in
Paragraphs 203 through 209 constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted
nor denied.
210. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 210 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in
Paragraph 210, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or
deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraph 210 are
denied.
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RESPONSE TO FUTILITY
211-215. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 211 through 215 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 211 through 215, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 211 through 215 are denied.
216. The allegations contained in Paragraph 216 of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint are
admitted. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraph 216 constitute conclusions of law,
said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied.
217-219. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 217 through 219 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 217 through 219, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 217 through 219 are denied. ·
RESPONSE TO CLAIMS FOR RELIEF

RESPONSE TO FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(BY THE ADULT PLAINTIFFS)
(DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION,
42 U.S.C. § 1983)

220. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her responses
to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 219 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as though
fully set forth.
221-227. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 221 through 227 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 221 through 227, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
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knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 221 through 227 are denied.
RESPONSE TO SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(BY THE MARRIED PLAINTIFFS)
(EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE UNITED
STATES CONSTITUTION, 42 U.S.C. § 1983)

228. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her responses
to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 227 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as though
fully set forth.
229-234. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 229 through 234 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 229 through 234, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 229 through 234 are denied.
RESPONSE TO THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF (BY PLAINTIFF J.G.-M.)
(EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE UNITED STATES
CONSTITUTION, 42 U.S.C. § 1983)

235. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her responses
to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 234 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as though
fully set forth.
236-246. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 236 through 246 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 236 through 246, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 236 through 246 are denied.

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RESPONSE TO FOURTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(BY PLAINTIFF J.G.-M)
(J.G.-M'S RIGHTS UNDER THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE UNDER THE UNITED
STATES CONSTITUTION, 42 U.S.C. § 1983)

247. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her responses
to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 246 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as though
fully set forth.
248-258. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 248 through 258 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 248 through 258, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 248 through 258 are denied.
RESPONSE TO FIFTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(BY PLAINTIFFS MEJIA AND MEJIA-GINTER)
(PARENTS' RIGHTS UNDER THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE UNITED
STATES CONSTITUTION, 42 U.S.C. § 1983)

259. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her
responses to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 258 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as
though fully set forth.
260-268. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 260 through 268 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 260 through 268, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 260 through 268 are denied.




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RESPONSE TO SIXTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(BY PLAINTIFF GINTER-MEJIA)
(GINTER-MEJIA'S RIGHTS UNDER THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE UNITED
STATES CONSTITUTION, 42 U.S.C. § 1983)

269. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her responses
to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 268 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as though
fully set forth.
270-275. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 270 through 275 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 270 through 275, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the
remaining allegations in Paragraphs 270 through 275 are denied.
RESPONSE TO SEVENTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(BY PLAINTIFF GINTER-MEJIA, MEJIA, AND J.G.-M)
(DUE PROCESS CLAUSE UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION,
42 U.S.C. § 1983)

276. Defendant Spencer re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference her responses
to the allegations, contained in Paragraphs 1 through 275 of Plaintiffs’ Complaint, as though
fully set forth.
277-282. To the extent that the allegations in Paragraphs 277 through 282 constitute
conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor denied. As to any remaining
allegations set forth in Paragraphs 277 through 282, Defendant Spencer is without sufficient
knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons set forth above, the remaining
allegations in Paragraphs 277 through 282 are denied.




Case 1:14-cv-00299-UA-JEP Document 53 Filed 06/16/14 Page 19 of 23

20

SECOND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: MOTION TO DISMISS - PLAINTIFFS’
LACK OF STANDING
Fed. R. Civ. P., Rule 12(b)(l)

Defendant Spencer asserts that the Plaintiffs lack standing to assert the claims in their
Complaint. Therefore, Defendant Spencer moves this Court to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ Complaint
as to Defendant Spencer.
THIRD AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: MOTION TO DISMISS- LACK OF
JURISDICTION
Fed. R. Civ. P., Rule 12(b)(l)


Defendant Spencer asserts that the Court lacks jurisdiction as Plaintiffs seek equitable
relief and jurisdiction is estopped due to Defendant Spencer’ governmental and qualified
immunity.
FOURTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: MOTION TO DISMISS
Fed. R. Civ. P., Rule 12(b)(6)

The Plaintiffs’ Complaint fails to state a claim against Defendant Spencer upon which
relief can be granted. Plaintiffs’ Complaint fails to state a cause of action against the public
entity Catawba County Register of Deeds for, pursuant to Monell v. Department of Social
Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S. Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978), there can
be no recovery for a federal civil rights violation where there is no constitutional deprivation
occurring pursuant to governmental policy or custom. Therefore, Defendant Spencer moves this
Court to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ Complaint as to Defendant Spencer.
FIFTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY

Defendant Spencer asserts governmental immunity and N.C. Gen. Stat. §153A-435 in
bar of Plaintiffs’ claims in that the Complaint complains of governmental acts with respect to
which Plaintiff must plead and prove a waiver of governmental immunity. At all times relevant
to the acts alleged in the Plaintiffs’ Complaint, Defendant Spencer, acted reasonably, properly,
Case 1:14-cv-00299-UA-JEP Document 53 Filed 06/16/14 Page 20 of 23

21

lawfully, and in good faith in the exercise of her discretion within the laws established in the
State of North Carolina. As a result Defendant Spencer is entitled to governmental immunity.
SIXTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: QUAILFIED IMMUNITY

Defendant Spencer has acted within the current laws established in the State of North
Carolina. Therefore, Defendant Spencer has not violated any clearly established constitutional or
statutory rights of which reasonable persons would have otherwise known and is entitled to the
protection of qualified immunity.
SEVENTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: COMPLIANCE WITH EXISTING LAW

Defendant Spencer has not violated any rights, privileges or immunities secured to
Plaintiffs by the Constitution or laws of the United States, the State of North Carolina or any
political subdivision thereof, nor has Defendant Spencer violated any act of Congress providing
for the protection of civil rights.
EIGHTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: ADEQUATE REMEDIES AT LAW

Defendant Spencer asserts that the Plaintiffs are not entitled to injunctive or declaratory
relief since the remedies at law are adequate.
NINTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: CONTRADICTION TO PUBLIC POLICY

Defendant Spencer asserts that the Plaintiffs are not entitled to the injunctive relief sought
since the relief sought is contrary to public policy.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Defendant Spencer respectfully prays:
283-290. In that Paragraphs 283 through 290 constitute Plaintiffs’ Prayer for Relief,
Defendant Spencer answers and respectfully prays this Court to dismiss this action against
Defendant Spencer as to Plaintiffs’ claims for relief. With respect to all claims, Defendant
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22

Spencer prays this Court issue no injunctive relief. To the extent Paragraphs 283 through 290
contain allegations that constitute conclusions of law, said conclusions are neither admitted nor
denied. As to any remaining allegations set forth in this Paragraphs 283 through 290, Defendant
Spencer is without sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny. Thus, for the reasons
set forth above, the remaining allegations in Paragraphs 283 through 290 are denied.
This the 16
th
day of June, 2014.



/s/ David W. Hood
David W. Hood
N.C. State Bar No. 18249
Dhood@phd-law.com
Michael J. Barnett
N.C. State Bar No. 32210
Mbarnett@phd-law.com
Patrick Harper & Dixon L.L.P.
P.O. Box 218
Hickory, North Carolina 28603
Telephone: (828) 322-7741
Facsimile: (828) 485-3213
Attorneys for Defendant – Donna Hicks Spencer


Case 1:14-cv-00299-UA-JEP Document 53 Filed 06/16/14 Page 22 of 23

23

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

The undersigned hereby certifies that a copy of the foregoing Answer and Affirmative
Defenses was served upon all parties in accordance with the provisions of Rule 5 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure by:
_____ Hand delivering a copy hereof to the attorney for each said party addressed as
follows:
Depositing a copy hereof, postage prepaid, in the United States Mail, addressed
as follows:
X Sending a copy hereof to the attorney for each said party and to each party by
electronic mail (“e-mail”) as follows:
Rose A. Saxe
James D. Esseks
American Civil Liberties
Union Foundation
125 Broad Street
New York, New York 10004-2400
rsaxe@aclu.org
jesseks@aclu.org
Elizabeth O. Gill
American Civil Liberties
Union Foundation
39 Drumm Street
San Francisco, California 94111-4805
egill@aclunc.org


Telecopying a copy thereof to the attorney for each said party and to each party
as follows:
X Use of the Court’s ECF facilities.

This the 16
th
day of June, 2014.

/s/ David W. Hood
David W. Hood

PATRICK HARPER & DIXON L.L.P.
34 2
nd
Street NW, 3
rd
Floor
Post Office Box 218
Hickory, North Carolina 28603
Telephone: (828) 322-7741
Facsimile: (828) 485-3213
Case 1:14-cv-00299-UA-JEP Document 53 Filed 06/16/14 Page 23 of 23

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