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Marriage Equality

N.C. Officials Can Now Refuse Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

N.C. Officials Can Now Refuse Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples


The legislature passes the discriminatory SB2 over the veto of the state's Republican governor.

North Carolina's GOP-controlled legislature has overridden Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of Senate Bill 2, described by critics as "a needless and mean-spirited law," which allows magistrates to opt out of performing marriages they object to on religious grounds.

The bill carefully avoids using "gay" or "same-sex" in its language, but its intent is clear. As the Washington Blade notes, the legislation comes less than a year after North Carolina began offering same-sex marriage, due to a court decision that ended the state's ban on marriage equality. The state House overrode McCrory's veto today, after the Senate had done so last week.

Jake Sussman, the lawyer who helped bring marriage equality to the Tar Heel State, blasted SB 2.

"This law is nothing more than state sanctioned discrimination," Sussman said in a statement.

"It is a terribly misguided attempt to rewrite what equal protection under the law means. Equality and fairness are not principles that are decided on a case-by-case basis, dependent upon who happens to be working the counter on a particular day. Neither the United States Constitution nor the North Carolina Constitution permit any such thing. It is terribly unfortunate that this many elected officials don't understand that."

Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, also issued a statement:

"It is tremendously disappointing that the legislature chose to override Governor McCrory's veto of this misguided and mean-spirited legislation. Allowing public officials the ability to opt-out of the job they are paid by the public to do is completely contrary to the purpose of public service and should have no place in North Carolina law."

Unlike the case with Indiana's incendiary "religious discrimination" bill, businesses and the public don't seem to be mobilized -- at least yet -- over SB 2.

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