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April 26, 2014


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Sorry to be cynical, but this looks like a case of a career politician gunning for a full-time government paycheck. I have been an observer of/participant in North Carolina politics for years, and, under normal circumstances, Register of Deeds races are perhaps the least controversial, least politicized races on the ballot (with the possible exception of Soil and Water Commissioner). I don't know any of the candidates in this race, but it appears that the incumbent has almost four decades of experience. Probably more valuable than a pledge to issue marriage licenses that the state won't honor.

Alfred L. Brophy

Mark's a very thoughtful man and a very careful man and I think he'd combine knowledge and interest in deeds. In addition to the same sex marriage licenses -- which are important symbolic issues to people some people -- he's also bringing attention to the need to have the office responsive to the increasing segment of the population that speaks Spanish but not English.

One other point. I'm not sure why we think that Mark is any more interested in "a full-time government paycheck" (to use your words) than someone who's been in the office for three decades. But that issue isn't what will motivate my vote.



What is the "symbolic issue" of possessing a marriage license issued by a local government official that is not a valid marriage license under controlling state law?

Is it hoped that later developments will retroactively validate these "symbolic" licenses under state law, or is there some other purpose to which these licenses may be put?

Alfred L. Brophy

Anon, some people, I suppose, would find it significant that an elected official in an important county issued a marriage license -- even if it may not later be recognized. Perhaps that would be part of a larger movement, or maybe even the start of a larger movement. I suppose that would have symbolic value, too.


Chilton's stated ideological reasons for running make up maybe 1% of the RoD job. The incumbent seems to be running on her ability to do the other 99%. Hence my suspicions of Chilton's true motivation. RoD is just not a very political job. If you want to advocate for issues like gay rights and acceptance of foreign language speakers, you typically run for state legislature or Congress. If you want to carry out the duties of the RoD office because you have spent almost four decades doing so, you run for RoD.

Alfred L. Brophy


The struggle for equal rights for gay people appears in many places, not just the state legislature. There are, moreover, other issues -- such as making the recorder's office more accessible to people who speak Spanish. It's possible to be an excellent administrator and to care about those other two issues.


The struggle for gay rights and the accessibility of the office to Spanish speakers, as I said, are a very small part of the job. Ask yourself this: if RoD were not an elected office, but rather a job that the County Manager filled by hiring someone, would Chilton be trying to get hired? I sincerely doubt it, as I have never seen any evidence of him caring about this job before. I lived in Orange County for several years, and never in any of the various local media was there anything to suggest that RoD-related issues were of special concern to him while he was serving in other offices. RoD is the magic combination of an elected office, which would allow him to stay in the public eye, and a full-time job with a full-time salary. It all just looks suspicious.

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