Federal court upholds law, says NC magistrates can refuse to marry same-sex couples

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a state law that allows magistrates and register of deeds to opt out of performing gay marriage ceremonies.

“We appreciate the court recognizing the plaintiffs failed to identify even one North Carolinian who was denied the ability to get married under this reasonable law which protects fundamental First Amendment rights,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger, author of the law.

The law protects the ability of people to get married but says magistrates and register of deeds’ employees with religious objections have the opportunity to recuse themselves from performing the ceremony.

The group that filed the lawsuit plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals.