N.C. same-sex marriage back at legislature in exemption bill

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gay marriage is back on the front burner at the North Carolina legislature as senators consider legislation to let some court officials avoid marriage duties due to their religious beliefs.

A Senate judiciary committee scheduled debate Feb. 24 on the measure filed by chamber leader Phil Berger of Eden. The bill allows magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant and deputy registers of deeds to not issue licenses. But they couldn’t participate in traditional marriages, either.
The legislation surfaced after some magistrates quit their jobs when federal judges legalized state-sanctioned gay marriages to begin last October.

Opponents of the exemption say it’s an underhanded way to validate discrimination by government officials who take oaths to carry out state laws.

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