News (USA)

North Carolina magistrates say no to same-sex marriages

North Carolina magistrates say no to same-sex marriages
Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.)
Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) AP

MARION, N.C. (AP) — A supervising judge says magistrates in a northwestern North Carolina county are refusing to perform same-sex marriages, citing the state’s religious exemption law.

WLOS-TV in Asheville reports ( four McDowell County magistrates have recused themselves from performing the ceremonies. Magistrates from a neighboring county are substituting.

Supervising Judge Randy Poole said that, by law, the McDowell magistrates cannot perform any kind of marriages for six months if they refuse to wed gay couples.

State lawmakers adopted a measure in June that allows court officials to refuse to perform gay marriages because of their religious beliefs. Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed it, but the N.C. Senate and House overrode his veto.

Columbia University Law School Professor Katherine Franke says the North Carolina law violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that state governments operate in a “religiously neutral” fashion.

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