NC magistrate refuses to marry same-sex couple
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Williams Locklear and his partner Randall Jackson were excited when they showed up at the magistrate’s office to get married Monday.
But they never got the chance.
Pasquotank County Magistrate Gary Littleton would not perform the marriage for the same-sex couple, according to Chief District Court Judge Christopher Bean.
Same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina after a judge struck down the state’s ban on Friday.
“My understanding is that a couple came and asked to be married and he refused to marry them based upon his, I guess, religious or moral principles,” Judge Bean said. “I suppose that it can be construed that he broke the law because that is a duty that the magistrate has, to perform marriages.”
Bean said the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts sent a preliminary memo to the magistrates late Monday saying, “magistrates should begin immediately conducting marriages of all couples presenting a marriage license.”
“I believe the final memo will say, without any question, that that is the duty of the magistrate,” Bean said.
Bean said Littleton could possibly be removed from his position if someone files a formal complaint.