The North Carolina House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow local magistrates and registers of deeds, the officials who perform marriages in the state, to refuse to participate in a same-sex ‘wedding’ if doing so violates their deeply held religious objections, and similarly if they refuse to perform heterosexual wedding ceremonies. The vote in the House was 67-43, following similar lop-sided passage in the State Senate. The legislation was pushed in response to the illegitimate decision of a federal judge to overturn North Carolina’s marriage amendment that was overwhelmingly adopted by voters in 2012.
Supporters of Senate Bill 2 say it effectively balances the rights of state employees who object to same-sex marriage and the rights of the couples seeking a wedding.
“This bill provides a balancing act – to make sure marriages across this state are performed in a blind fashion,” said Rep. Dean Arp, a Monroe Republican. “The question is should you be fired from a job because you choose to live your life by those religious beliefs.”
Unfortunately, Governor Pat McCrory (a Republican) has tragically promised a veto of the legislation and appears to have swallowed the false talking points of same-sex marriage activists and the left. This will likely prove to be a tremendous miscalculation on McCrory’s part. There is a real chance that the Legislature would override McCrory’s veto. Sen. Phil Berger, the President of the Senate, authored this legislation. Further, McCrory is up for reelection next year. A veto of the bill invites a primary challenge and certainly will alienate him from the conservative base of the Republican Party. NOM will be working with allies in the state to assess our options.
Gov. Pat McCrory announced Thursday afternoon that he’ll veto a bill to allow magistrates to opt out of performing marriage if they have a religious objection.
The governor’s announcement came just hours after the N.C. House approved it in a 67-43 final vote Thursday.
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“Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I will veto Senate Bill 2.”
The U.S. Constitution and federal law protect people from religious persecution and coercion, specifically requiring the government to make reasonable accommodations for people of faith. This modest legislation in North Carolina simply protects people from having to choose between keeping their job and their religious beliefs. Nobody should be forced to participate in any ‘wedding’ against their wishes:
The conservative N.C. Values Coalition, which has advocated for the bill, issued a stinging critique of McCrory’s decision Thursday afternoon.
“Senate Bill 2 will protect the fundamental American freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs, and it is unacceptable for any governor who calls himself ‘conservative’ to veto legislation like SB2,” spokeswoman Jessica Wood said.
The solution to this situation, of course, is for the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which would reinstate the North Carolina Marriage Amendment and make legislation like this unnecessary. We hope that the justices are watching the chaos that is occurring in the states as they struggle with ways to deal with the damage done by federal judges who have illegitimately imposed their own views of marriage, despite the democratic decisions of voters and elected legislators.
Source and quotes via News Observer.