RALEIGH In a victory for social conservatives, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that North Carolina’s civil magistrates have a right to recuse themselves from performing same-sex marriages.The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower district court ruling, stating that the couples who brought the suit against the state lack the legal grounds to do so. According to the opinion of the court, the plaintiffs, “all of whom are either married or engaged, do not claim that the state has impeded their right to get married,” but instead challenged their right as taxpayers who “object to the alleged spending of public funds in aid of religion.”Judge Harvie Wilkinson from Virginia wrote the opinion, with input from Justices Barbara Milano Keenan, also of Virginia, and Stephanie Thacker of West Virginia. The ruling upholds Senate Bill 2, a law that was introduced by N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) in 2015. The bill was met with controversy when then-Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican, vetoed the bill only to be overrode by the GOP supermajority in the General Assembly.”Once again, a federal court has rejected the idea that exercising one’s First Amendment religious freedoms somehow infringes on others’ rights which was made clear when the plaintiffs couldn’t find even one North Carolinian who was unable to get married under this law,” Berger said Wednesday in a written statement.His office asserts that the law preserves the ability of everyone who is legally eligible to get married, but makes clear that magistrates and registers of deeds’ employees with religious objections have the right to recuse themselves from performing all marriage ceremonies including traditional marriage without fear of losing their jobs or facing criminal prosecution.
LAKE LURE Nearly 50,000 acres of forest have burned in wildfires across western N.C. as firefighters continue to work on containing 15 fires in the state. This week air quality across much of the […]
SANTA CLARA, Cuba A JetBlue Airways passenger jet landed in Santa Clara, Cuba, Wednesday morning, becoming the first scheduled passenger flight from the United States in more than a half century. The Airbus A320, […]
WASHINGTON, D.C. A measure to repeal Obamacare failed a vote in the Senate early Friday. Supporters said the “skinny repeal” measure was designed to send the issue into conference committee with the House but […]