North Carolina Legislature Revives Religious Freedom

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Today North Carolina joined Utah in passing legislation giving court officials a religious exemption from officiating same-sex “weddings.” Overturning Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of the Religious Freedom Bill, the legislature acted to protect those magistrates who have to choose between abandoning their religion and facing suspension, termination, fines, or prosecution.

While the bill was making its way through the legislature, Liberty Counsel filed suit and went to court to defend these magistrates. Liberty Counsel will voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit and offer pro bono counsel to defend this new law. “While the federal court orders require that Defendants make marriage licenses and marriage ceremonies available to same-sex couples, they do not require that every magistrate in the state be compelled to perform such ceremonies under threat of suspension, termination or even criminal prosecution,” Liberty Counsel told the court. “Any number of accommodations can be made for magistrates who object to issuing marriage licenses for a same-sex union.”

The Religious Freedom Bill makes such accommodations by permitting the chief District Court judge or the county register of deeds to issue same-sex wedding licenses if the magistrate has a religious objection.

“Magistrates do not lose their first amendment rights when they take the oath of office,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Magistrates in two states are safe, but there is still much work to be done. Liberty Counsel offers pro bono assistance to any government official whose fundamental rights are being challenged by same-sex marriage and the LGBT agenda.”

About Liberty Counsel
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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