The recent legalization of gay marriage is a hot button issue in North Carolina after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declared gay marriage bans unconstitutional and the Supreme Court declined to take the appeals.
While activists celebrated the news, some like NC Senate Leader Phil Berger intend to fight the ruling as much as possible.
According to the Associated Press, Berger will soon introduce a bill allowing magistrates to refuse to officiate gay and lesbian weddings and not face penalty. This was in response to a magistrate resigning and not having to preside over a gay wedding.
State officials have made it clear that refusing to service gay couples are in violation of their duties and may face dismissal.
“The court’s expansion of the freedoms of some should not violate the well-recognized constitutional rights of others,” Berger said in a statement. “Complying with the new marriage law imposed by the courts should not need our state employees to compromise their core religious beliefs and First Amendment rights to protect their livelihoods.”
However, LBGT activist groups like EqualityNC vowed to fight the law should it make it to the floor. They compared it to a similar law in Arizona that allowed private businesses the right to discriminate against gays.
The law was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. The bill Berger is proposing is still being worked out, according a spokesperson.