NC Magistrates Win Religious Liberty

Jun 29, 2017

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals handed North Carolina magistrates a huge victory by ruling that the plaintiffs who opposed their religious liberty opt out of same-sex “marriage” lacked standing to challenge the law.

Liberty Counsel represented, among others, Magistrate Brenda Bumgarner, who has an excellent record during her 10 years of service as a magistrate, and who sought a religious opt out of performing “marriages” for same-sex couples. Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief that argued that SB 2 is not only constitutionally permissible but actually required for magistrates and judges. SB 2 states: “Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based upon any sincerely held religious objection.”

In 2015, Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of magistrates seeking accommodation for their religious convictions regarding same-sex “marriage.” The state house and senate passed SB 2 granting an accommodation, and both houses later overrode the governor’s veto. Liberty Counsel dismissed its suit, but then the new law was challenged by those who want to force magistrates to violate their religious convictions and consciences.


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