Tuesday, October 14, 2014

North Carolina Magistrate Refuses to Marry Gay Couple Due to Religious Objections

A male couple named Randall Jackson (age 68) and William Locklear (age 53) have been together for 31 years. North Carolina became a marriage equality state late last week, so the couple decided to go to their local courthouse yesterday to get married. Unfortunately, they were turned away because of religious bigotry:
A magistrate turned them away. "He said, 'I won't be performing your marriage because of my religious beliefs,' " Locklear said...

Pasquotank County Clerk of Superior Court Connie Thornley confirmed that a magistrate declined to perform the marriage. Magistrates must marry gay couples or risk losing their jobs, she said. "They cannot refuse," she said. The magistrate Locklear named could not be reached for comment.
Fortunately, the pair were able to return today and were legally married in a brief five minute civil ceremony:
Today, the couple finally tied the knot at the Pasquotank County courthouse. A different magistrate, Lee Custis, presided over their civil wedding today, saying he was religious, but he had to follow the law. He improvised slightly when he asked them if they would take each other's hand in marriage. "Do you take this man to be your partner?" Custis asked.
I'm left once again wondering if this magistrate regularly refuses to officiate at the weddings of heterosexual couples who aren't members of his particular religious faith or if he saves the exclusionary aspects of his religion for same-sex couples...

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