North Carolina Election Official Refuses to Put Marriage Up for Vote
BY Lucas Grindley
January 11 2012 3:19 PM ET
A North Carolina supervisor of elections has quit her job rather than put a same-sex marriage ban on the ballot there.
Sherre Toler had been Director of Elections in Harnett County for 11 years before she submitted her resignation on January 3, saying she could no longer act objectively, as the law required her.
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,'" she noted in her resignation letter, as posted on Pam's House Blend. "I simply could not continue in the position of Director of Elections and remain silent on this important issue."
Toler cites the 1967 Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, which dealt with the legality of a marriage between a mixed-race couple as part of what gives her such a principled view, having been in a relationship with a man of another race herself. (Read more about the case here.)
Pam Spaulding interviewed Toler about the decision, which she said other elected officials should follow "when religious beliefs are being used to justify public policy."
First, "as public officials they must ensure that any action taken does not violate the Constitution which they took an oath to uphold" and then
"if a law violates one’s own principles of religion, spirituality or morals, each individual must examine his/her conscience and decide whether or not they can implement the law as written."
Toler said she sees the ballot proposal as both a violation of the Constitution and a violation of her principles, which she said led to her decision.
Toler is launching a political consulting business, called Lighthouse Strategies, that she'll use to work against the ballot initiative.