Mark Kleinschmidt

Orange County Superior Court Clerk


Mark will be the only openly LGBTQ clerk in North Carolina


Mark Kleinschmidt has spent almost 30 years as a resident of Orange County, NC. An attorney in private practice, he has been a state-wide thought leader on criminal justice reform, access to the courts, and access to the ballot. He has been one of the primary voices in the fight for LGBTQ equality in North Carolina for almost two decades. Mark has served the Town of Chapel Hill, first as a Councilmember from 2001-2009, and as Mayor from 2009-2015.

Mark grew up the son of a USAF Chief Master Sergeant and a registered nurse. He lived in Illinois, Hawaii and New Mexico before moving to North Carolina as a child. He’s a 1992 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent five years in the classroom teaching Social Studies. Since graduating from the UNC-CH School of Law in 2000, Mark has fought for criminal justice reform and represented clients in cases involving life and death all across the state. He led the non-profit, the Fair Trial Initiative from 2006 to 2012 where he trained young lawyers to provide high quality capital defense representation. Formerly a partner at Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, Mark now runs his own solo practice.

From 2001-2003 Mark served on the board of Equality NC, and was a member of the board of the Int’l Network of Gay & Lesbian Officials. From 2003-2009 he was on the board of the NC ACLU serving as it’s President in 2008-2009.

Mark lives in Chapel Hill with his partner, Matt DeBellis, and their dog Ellie.

Importance of Candidacy:

  • Mark will be a voice for equality in Orange County, NC.
  • Mark will be the only openly LGBTQ clerk in North Carolina.

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