Civitas Review

Religious Liberty for NC Magistrates


Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, spent 5 days in jail for her religious objections to distributing marriage licenses with her name on them to same-sex couples. Her objection has been deemed reasonable as long as she permits her deputy clerks to perform the task of distributing marriage licenses in her stead.

Before the national media was focused on Kim Davis in Kentucky, North Carolina was already addressing the issue of same-sex marriage in potential conflict with the consciences of public officials and how to ensure the protection of their religious liberty.

The law, passed in June, allows magistrates and clerks of court to recuse themselves from performing any marriages if they have a “strong held religious belief” against performing any kind of marriage.

The legislation was crafted to head off any possible issues such as is going on in Kentucky, where Kim Davis was ordered to jail Thursday for contempt for refusing to issue marriage licenses following the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide. She spent five days in prison before her release.

No such issues have happened in North Carolina, though more than 30 magistrates and registers of deeds have recused themselves from performing marriages or administrating marriage licenses.

Read more here from NC Capitol Connection.


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