On Wednesday, three people arrested in Asheville, North Carolina for attending a sit-in for equal marriage rights, were found not guilty of trespassing charges.

Laura Blackley, Cindy Jordan and Craig White were among eight people arrested at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds office, on May 11, for attending a sit-in. The event was arranged as part of the WE DO Campaign, organised by Southern Equality.

Ms White and Ms Blackley were married legally in California, and Mr White was there to support equal marriage rights, the Citizen Times reported.

Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, said:

“It was powerful to see a North Carolina court recognize the fundamental right of LGBT people to petition our government to change discriminatory laws that ban marriage between LGBT couples,

“This is one more step in our effort to achieve full equality under the law.”

The five remaining arrested will be in court today to face charges of the same, second degree trespassing.

Back in May, voters in North Carolina approved Amendment One, which introduced a constitutional ban on gay marriages and outlaws even civil unions.

The amendment read: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” In effect, this bars the state legislature from giving legal recognition to civil marriage, civil unions or other forms of legally recognised partnerships to gay couples.