Five percent of North Carolina magistrates file marriage recusals

Senator Phil Berger

Senator Phil Berger

Senator Phil Berger

Senator Phil Berger

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The number of North Carolina magistrates recusing themselves from performing civil marriages under a new law has more than doubled in recent weeks.

The state court system says it’s received 32 notices from magistrates since the law took effect June 11. That’s up from 14 in early July and represents nearly 5 percent of the state’s magistrates. The law exempts court officials with sincerely held religious beliefs opposing gay marriage.

The law also gave the recusal option to some register of deeds workers issuing marriage licenses. Elected officials would perform the duties as a last resort.

Sen. Phil Berger sponsored the bill. Berger says the law is probably preventing situations like the one in Kentucky, where a clerk has refused to issue licenses. Utah has a similar recusal law.

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