Jun 11, 2015

The North Carolina House of Representatives today voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto and approve a bill that gives state magistrates the right to refuse service to same-sex couples and others. It’s a move the state will end up paying for in court, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.“By enshrining discrimination into law, North Carolina’s lawmakers just signed a full-employment act for civil liberties lawyers,” said the Rev. Barry W, Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Unfortunately, the state’s taxpayers will be stuck with the tab.”The state House today voted 69-41 to override McCrory’s veto and approve SB 2, legislation that gives magistrates the right to refuse to perform any marriage if they cite a religious objection. The state Senate previously voted for the override as well.The issue will almost certainly now go to court, says Americans United.AU and several other national organizations have been involved in litigation concerning same-sex marriage in other states. In Alabama, Americans United and its allies are representing five same-sex couples who seek to marry but have encountered resistance from probate judges. A federal court recently sided with Americans United.If the U.S. Supreme Court extends marriage equality nationwide, AU says, officials in states like North Carolina will have no option but to comply with the ruling. State and local officials, AU asserts, can’t use “religious freedom” as an excuse to deny people their constitutional right to marry.“The personal prejudices of government officials don’t trump basic rights,” Lynn said. “Given North Carolina’s history during the civil rights era, I should think legislators would know that.”