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GOP leaders signal move to block gay marriages

RALEIGH — As same-sex couples in North Carolina await federal court rulings they hope will allow them to get married, Republican legislative leaders are making a last-minute move to block or delay the nuptials.

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger say they will file motions Thursday seeking to intervene in legal challenges to the state’s gay marriage ban. The GOP legislators have hired California lawyer John C. Eastman, chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage. Eastman will be paid $400 an hour.

American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina legal director Chris Brook criticized the move as a waste of taxpayer funds.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Jr. in Greensboro appears poised to strike down the ban after issuing an order Wednesday lifting his stays and dismissing all motions in the cases.

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