Thursday, May 28, 2015

North Carolina Legislature Approves Bill Allowing Magistrates To Opt-Out Of Same-Sex Marriages

Having already passed in the North Carolina Senate, the state House approved legislation last night that would allow some state officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on "sincerely held religious" objections.

Court officials could request to recuse themselves for up to six months — during which time they could not perform any other marriages — and the recusal could be based on a religious objection to any type marriage, including between same-sex couples.

The bill passed by a vote of 66-44.

The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

The governor avoided questions about the legislation yesterday but told a Charlotte radio station in March: "I don't think you should have an exemption or a carve-out when you swore an oath to the constitution of North Carolina or to the Constitution of the United States of America."

The Campaign For Southern Equality issued a statement that read in part:

“This discriminatory bill treats gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens and distorts the true meaning of religious freedom. We urge Governor McCrory to veto this discriminatory bill.

We have the freedom to practice religion in our place of worship and to hold private beliefs. But as Americans, we’ve agreed that we will be governed by the principles of equality and fairness in our public and civic life.

Senate Bill 2 is discriminatory and rooted in animus - it must not become law,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

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