NORTH CAROLINA: Marriage Refusal Bill For Magistrates Nears Final Approval
Via the Associated Press:
North Carolina legislators neared final approval Wednesday on legislation allowing some North Carolina court officials to opt out of same-sex marriage duties based on "sincerely held religious" objections. The House, in a largely party-line vote of 65-45, gave its tentative support to let magistrates and some registers of deeds employees have the option, but they would have to stop performing all marriage duties — for gay and heterosexual couples. The Senate has already approved the bill, which came from Republicans after gay marriage was legalized in North Carolina last October. The measure now needs just one more House vote scheduled for Thursday before it goes to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's desk. He's expressed opposition to the religious exemption idea but hasn't said whether he would veto it.Supporters of the bill claim that no gay couples would be turned away because other state employees will step in to issue licenses and officiate weddings. Democrats oppose any inconvenience to applicants. The final vote is today.