A county official in the US state of North Carolina has said he will accept applications from same-sex couples for marriage licences.

Supported by the Campaign for Southern Equality, at least six couples were expected to file for marriage licenes on Tuesday with a view to being turned down, in protest against legal recognition of equal marriage in the state.

Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger has said, however, that he will accept the applications, and will seek guidance from the state’s top lawyer, reports the Associated Press.

Despite a 2012 constitutional amendment banning gay couples from marrying in the state, Reisinger has said he will accept the applications and hold the licences until he goes to Attorney General Roy Cooper for legal advice.

Register of Deeds David Granberry last Tuesday afternoon said he would not grant the marriage licences. He said he supported equal marriage, but that the law prohibited him from issuing them.

In May 2012, voters in the state passed a ban on equal marriage by a large majority, despite failing in Mecklenburg County.

Pennsylvania county clerk D Bruce Hanes previously issued over 170 marriage licences to same-sex couples, and had said he wanted to come down on the “right side of history”, deeming the state’s ban on equal marriage as unconstitutional.

Democrats in the state had said they would appeal against the ruling to block Hanes from issuing further licences, from 12 September.