State News

Men wed after after initial denial by Pasquotank magistrate

Posted October 15, 2014

William Locklear, left, and Randall Jackson were married at Pasquotank County Courthouse Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, a day after they had been turned away by a magistrate who, citing his religious views, refused to marry them. (Courtesy  of Jeff Hampton/The Virginia-Pilot)

— A Pasquotank County magistrate likely won't face disciplinary action for refusing to marry two men after a federal appeals judge last week overturned North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban, The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reported Wednesday.

Magistrate Gary Littleton refused Monday to marry William Locklear and Randall Jackson, citing his religious views that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Another magistrate on Tuesday married the couple, who has been together for 31 years.

Chief District Judge Christopher Bean met with all county magistrates about the matter on Tuesday and said if a formal complaint was filed, he would investigate the allegation that Littleton, who is not seeking reappointment when his term ends in December, refused to wed the men.

So far, no complaint has been filed, and Jackson told the newspaper that he and Locklear do not plan to file one.

Littleton's position conflicts with advice provided Monday in a memo from the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts that all judicial personnel accommodate same-sex couples just as they would heterosexual couples.

In Alamance County, clerks and magistrates are facing a similar dilemma.

The Burlington Times-News reported that Register of Deeds Hugh Webster said that "about half" of his employees are not comfortable issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples and that he will fill in for those employees.

Chief District Judge Jim Roberson, who oversees Alamance County magistrates, offered a similar solution, saying those comfortable with same-sex marriage would step in for those who are not.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said Wednesday that the group is "extremely concerned" about the reports and is continuing to monitor the situations.

"We will expect no less than full and equal access to marriage as afforded by North Carolina law," Sgro said in a statement Tuesday.


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  • Doug Hanthorn Oct 17, 2014
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    And what happens if he just happens to be the only magistrate in the office one day? No, he needs to perform the work of the state or leave.

  • ivanhoe2014nc Oct 16, 2014

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    Except that it's his job to perform these duties. If he is unable to perform his job he should quit or be fired. It's really that simple.

  • Tommie Chavis Oct 16, 2014
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    So tell me when did man create a hierarchy of sin and make one sin greater than the other to condemn. If I am correct which I know I am on this, the greatest sin of all is Blasphemy which is unforgivable based upon your Bible. Yet "NO" where in the Bible did Jesus ever condemn or speak against homosexuality. Let he that is without sin cast the first stone. For many will speak my name and cast out demons yet they will not see the kingdom of Heaven. You do know one of the most common sins of Christians is "Spiritual Pride"....

  • Lightfoot3 Oct 16, 2014

    "the religious right chooses to focus on homosexuality. " - KnowsItAll

    They don't see the other sins because of the huge plank in their eye.

  • greg11 Oct 16, 2014

    Lightfoot3 keep believing that if it makes you feel better, but your comment makes you look really foolish. Gay marriage is legal now. So quit your crying and complaining, get over the fact that people still aren't going to be comfortable with it, and move on to something more relevant.

  • Sandy Swiger Oct 16, 2014
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    So now you have a "sliding scale" on sins? Jesus spoke quite clearly on the issue of divorce and remarriage.

    In Luke 16:18 Jesus says:
    "Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."

    What did Jesus ever say about homosexuals? Seems to me the magistrate needs to refuse to marry all divorced persons based upon his religious convictions! Just saying!

  • jackaroe123 Oct 16, 2014

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    If there are enough magistrates to cover any need, I think it would be pretty malicious and graceless (like the behavior of marriage equality opponents these last several years) to force a specific one to perform a SSM ceremony against his or her beliefs. The law has been put right. If the next step is gradually winning people's hearts over, I think it's wise to be patient and to model some understanding for people who have lived their entire lives believing very deeply in something very different. The power is now in the hands of those of us who support marriage equality. I hope we will use our control and influence to win people over, not to crush them.

  • 20K Oct 16, 2014

    Please stop making this news worthy! People are tired of hearing about this!

  • Lightfoot3 Oct 16, 2014

    "Good for Littleton sticking to his core values and religious beliefs." - A person

    Religious beliefs? Ha! It's nothing more than pure hatred. These so called religious people commit every other sin under the sun. They're liars, drunkards, fornicators, adulterers, divorced, etc. But with gay marriage, all of a sudden they've got a halo over their head? Too funny!

  • Andy Hairston Oct 16, 2014
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    People are allowed to believe what they want, as long as they don't stand up for what they believe in?