Senate approves bill that would allow NC magistrates to opt out of gay marriages

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Ann-Marie Jarvis and Christy Michelle Finney, both of Reidsville, say they have been together 17 years.

RALEIGH, N.C. — After a lengthy debate, the North Carolina Senate approved a bill that would allow magistrates and register of deeds employees to opt out of providing marriage services due to religious objections, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

This afternoon Senators voted 32-16 in favor of the Senate Bill 2, which was filed by Senate President Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). Guilford County Senators Trudy Wade and Berger voted in favor of the bill. Sen. Gladys Robinson, a Democrat, voted in opposition.

Proponents argued that the bill would allow state employees who object to gay marriage to not have to assist those couples, while not inhibiting same-sex couples from marrying. They rejected the idea by opponents that the legislation allows discrimination.

Berger said the bill “tries to draw a balance that will enable people to live their lives as they would like to but would not have the government forcing them to do something that is against their core beliefs.”