Since the nationwide blowback over Indiana and Arkansas's Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, better known as an an antigay "license to discriminate," has died down, lawmakers in other southern states are seeming bolder about introducing similar legislation of their own.
The latest to move in that direction: North Carolina, which last week took steps to pass a bill that would allow state officials to refuse to serve same-sex couples. Senate Bill 2 would allow magistrates and registers of deeds, who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses in the state, to exempt themselves from issuing licenses to any couples, same-sex or opposite-sex, for a period of six months, if the official files paperwork indicating that performing the duties of their job violates the employee's sincerely held religious belief.
Supporters of the bill, who contend it's necessary to protect "religious freedom," have acknowledged that it arose in response to North Carolina being court-ordered to embrace marriage equality last year. But because lawmakers are not allowed to single out same-sex couples (since that would be unconstitutional), the bill has been drafted to allow officials to recuse themselves from performing any marriages if they object some unions.
For a few days, it appreared as through the bill might have died: Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, vetoed it bill two weeks ago, but then the Senate gathered enough votes to override his veto. Judging by the margins the bill initially passed through the chamber on, there are enough votes in the House to do follow suit and override the governor's veto -- but so far, legislators have held off on taking a vote. The North Carolina legislature is supposed to hold votes pertaining to a veto promptly, but in recent years, has earned a reputation for lengthy delays.
Get up to speed on North Carolina's shenanigans below: