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N.C. magistrates sue court officials over having to officiate same-sex marriages

N.C. magistrates sue court officials over having to officiate same-sex marriages

RALEIGH, N.C. — One former and one current magistrate have filed a lawsuit against North Carolina court officials, claiming that being forced to preside over same-sex marriages violates their religious freedoms.

Media outlets report Charlie Smoak, who was a Moore County magistrate for 10 years, and another magistrate listed in the lawsuit as “Jane Doe” over fear that she might lose her job, are targeting the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The lawsuit contends Smoak’s state constitutional rights were violated when AOC head John Smith told magistrates in October that two federal court rulings meant performing same-sex marriages were part of their duties and that they couldn’t opt out because they object.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, seeks a court order declaring Smith’s order unconstitutional as well as an order that Smoak be reinstated.

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