The state House voted 69-41 to reject the veto and turn the Religious Freedom Bill into law. The state Senate had voted a week ago to overturn McCrory’s veto.
North Carolina joins Utah as the only states to implement protections for officials with religious objections to same-sex “marriage.”
Liberty Counsel, which had filed a lawsuit over the issue, said it would voluntarily dismiss the action and instead would offer pro bono counsel to defend the new law.
“While the federal court orders require the defendants to make marriage licenses and marriage ceremonies available to same-sex couples, they do not require that every magistrate in the state be compelled to perform such ceremonies under threat of suspension, termination, or even criminal prosecution,” the organization argued to the court.
“Any number of accommodations can be made for magistrates who object to issuing marriage licenses for a same-sex union.”
Get Paul Kengor’s “Takedown” and learn how family and marriage are being sabotaged by “extreme-left radicals.”
The state now permits the chief district judge or the county register of deeds to also issue same-sex wedding licenses, enabling a magistrate with a faith objection to be exempted from the process.
According the Raleigh Fox affiliate, state House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said the law “protects sincerely held religious beliefs while also ensuring that magistrates are available in all jurisdictions to perform lawful marriages.”
McCrory said he opposes same-sex marriage but insisted nobody should be exempted from the requirements of the law. North Carolina legalized same-sex marriage in October.
The local ABC affiliate said pro-homosexual critics of the move pledged litigation over the law.
The plan came from Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, after federal courts in 2014 overrode the decision of the state’s voters, who had approved a constitutional ban on “gay marriage.”
The report said the governor’s decision put him at odds with social conservatives aligned with Republicans.
Concerned Women for America accused McCrory of betraying state residents and forcing court officials to violate their consciences, the ABC affiliate said.
“It’s hard to believe that any governor – much less a conservative one – would veto a bill protecting the religious freedoms of his constituents,” said North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald.
WND reported when the legal case arose.
Two former North Carolina magistrates claimed in the lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court that they were forced to quit their jobs because court administrators ordered them to perform same-sex weddings.
They wanted the state to follow its own constitution and return them to their jobs with an acknowledgment that they are not required to perform weddings for same-sex duos.
Of the 36 states that have legalized same-sex marriage, about two dozen were ordered by a single judge.
There was significant resistance in only one state. The Alabama Supreme Court told its judiciary in February that U.S. District Judge Callie Granade’s order to issue a marriage license to two men doesn’t change the state’s law and constitution.
The Alabama justices ordered state judges to abide by the state constitution, which recognizes marriage only as the union of one man and one woman.
According to Courthouse News, Thomas Holland and Gilbert Breedlove had sued in North Carolina over direct orders and threats by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.
WND has compiled a “Big List of Christian Coercion” with dozens of cases in which Christians have been fined, threatened or penalized for recognizing the biblical definition of marriage. A petition has been created in support of ordinances that allow Christian business owners to live by their faith.
According to the complaint, the office director, John Smith, refused to accommodate the magistrates’ religious beliefs by ordering them to perform same-sex marriages.
The court office, according to the report, ordered last year, “Magistrates should begin immediately conducting marriages of all couples presenting a marriage license issued by the register of deeds.”
The threats followed immediately: “A failure to do so would be violation of the U.S. Constitution under the federal ruling and would constitute a violation of the oath and a failure to perform a duty of the office.”
Penalties include possible suspension, removal from office and criminal counts, the office warned.
Both Holland, who lives in Graham County, and Breedlove, of Swain County, resigned in 2014 in response to the threats by the state.
They sought orders from the courts that they be reinstated with back pay and lost benefits, as well as a permanent injunction enjoining Smith and the courts office from acting against them.
WND also reported a team of prominent Christian leaders worked on a statement to inform the public that they will engage in civil disobedience rather than follow a ruling that establishes homosexual marriage in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the issue soon.
Among those leading the charge are James Dobson of Family Talk, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and James Robison of Life Today, whose new publication called the Stream reported on a telephone conference call discussing the issue.
“Are we going to sit on our reputations and go to our graves without having played a role? This is Roe v. Wade all over again. I am standing shoulder to shoulder with all who will stand up for God’s Word concerning marriage. We don’t know all of the steps that must be taken, but God will reveal His will. To the extent that I am able to influence anybody, I will do it with passion,” Dobson said.
See WND’s “Big List of Christian Coercion” with dozens of cases in which Christians have been fined, threatened or penalized for recognizing the biblical definition of marriage. And sign a petition in support of ordinances that allow Christian business owners to live by their faith.
Bob Unruh writes for World Net Daily (WND)