News (USA)

North Carolina lawmakers override veto, allowing officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages

[ Previous ]

Lawyers for gay rights group Equality NC and the American Civil Liberties Union asked any same-sex couples who face difficulties to contact them.

Republicans supporting the measure said federal laws provided religious accommodations to government officials, in keeping with the U.S. and state constitutions.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, introduced the bill shortly after federal rulings last October overturned North Carolina’s voter-approved constitutional ban on gay marriage. Several magistrates had resigned after the state’s top court administrator threatened reprimands, termination or charges for any who declined to officiate for same-sex couples.

One of the magistrates who resigned, Gilbert Breedlove of Swain County, said Thursday that he’s pleased his former colleagues can recuse themselves without worrying about their jobs. He said his faith made him better at his job.

“I could bring my morals and integrity to the position instead of checking it at the door,” he said.

But Shawn Long, who married his husband in October and was a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits that paved the way for gay marriages in the state, said the law is not about magistrates’ religious freedom.

“They’re using their religion to dictate what government services someone can get,” he said.

Article continues below

Concerned Women for America accused McCrory of betraying state residents and forcing court officials to violate their consciences with the veto.

“It’s hard to believe that any governor – much less a conservative one – would veto a bill protecting the religious freedoms of his constituents,” North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald said.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Former Rhode Island House speaker gets 3 years for corruption

Previous article

Texas governor signs bill ‘protecting’ pastors from having to officiate same-sex marriages

Next article