LGBT rights groups sue state of North Carolina over magistrates’ bill | News

LGBT rights groups sue state of North Carolina over magistrates’ bill

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JEREMY LANGE
  • Jeremy Lange
Last fall, after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment One, the state’s leaders threw a series of hissy fits that resulted in several different bills that further discriminate against the LGBT community being filed.

Senate Bill 2— which allows state-employed magistrates to recuse themselves from administering marriage licenses or performing marriages if they cite “a sincerely held religious objection,"—was forced through by the Legislature this spring and immediately vetoed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The Legislature voted to override the veto in June.

On Wednesday morning, six plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit against the state on the grounds that the bill violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Charlotte-based law firm Tin Fulton Walker & Owen will try the case, known as Ansley v. North Carolina.

“Senate Bill 2 places personal belief above sworn constitutional duty and unlawfully spends public money to accomplish an expressly religious goal,” said Chris Sgro, the executive director of the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group Equality North Carolina. “This dangerous legislation allows magistrates, who do not believe in marriage equality, to renounce their judicial oath to uphold and evenly apply the United States Constitution.”

Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality will coordinate a public education campaign accompanying the case. The groups will hold a joint press conference with the attorneys in Charlotte at 10 a.m. this morning. 


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