14 NC magistrates seek to opt of of performing same-sex marriages under SB2

The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that states can no longer block same-sex couples from getting married, but the ruling does not prevent some North Carolina magistrates from refusing to perform marriages under Senate Bill 2.

SB2, that became law last month after legislators overrode Gov. McCrory’s veto, allows for magistrates to opt out of performing all marriages for a period of six months, if they have a sincerely held religious objection.

The News & Observer reports that 14 of the state’s 672 magistrates have recused themselves from performing this duty:

That represents about 2 percent of the state’s magistrates. AOC spokeswoman Sharon Gladwell declined to identify the counties where the recused magistrates work. She said the recusals are a confidential personnel matter, and that providing the county-specific information would allow for identification of recused magistrates.

In register of deeds offices, five of 100 counties across the state have had employees opt out of issuing and processing marriage licenses, according to the N.C. Association of Registers of Deeds.

Sarah Preston lobbied against the bill as director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. She said the recusals represent “a pretty small number.”

“I think that indicates that this was really a non-issue,” Preston said Tuesday. “The legislature made this a bigger deal than it needs to be.”

What’s next in the battle for marriage equality? Listen to Chris Fitzsimon’s recent radio interview with the ACLU-NC Legal Director Chris Brook.

You can hear the full interview here, or click below to hear Brook discuss the
Obergefell decision and “lived equality.”


  1. LayintheSmakDown

    July 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    See, it is not the end of the world. only what 2% or so of the magistrates have opted out….strangely just a bit higher than the number of homos in society.

  2. Pertains

    July 9, 2015 at 11:14 am

    They are not clergy, priests, preachers or any other leader of a religious denomination.

    They are public employees and if they are unable to fulfill their job they need transferred into a job that does not required dealing with the public.

    They are refusing to pass out a form not preside over a big wedding or “bless” the couple”.

    If this was an application for a “free” voter ID at DMV would those employees have the right to decline giving a same sex couple the “free”/illegal ID needed to vote in our once wonderful NC?

    The fact that you use the term “homo” clearly demonstrates how capable you are in using very derogatory terms when you discuss groups of people you dislike.

  3. LayintheSmakDown

    July 9, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Well Pertain!, the law says differently to your assertion and they are fulfilling their jobs within their rights as given in the constitution.

    An identification card is completely different from sanctifying a marriage. The law does not say they can opt out of issuing an ID…plus I don’t think magistrates issue ID’s. I believe that is the DMV. Plus, I don’t think identification forms appear in religious texts as something that God defines…but marriage does.

    I get tired of typing the whole word, plus if I were to use a derogatory term I am sure there are other options that actually degrade vs. just abbreviating an accepted term.

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