@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Senate overrides McCrory's marriage bill veto

Posted June 1, 2015

— The North Carolina Senate voted Monday night to override Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of legislation that would allow magistrates to opt out of performing wedding ceremonies.

After the 32-16 Senate vote, the bill is now in the hands of the state House, where the margin is expected to be tighter. Three-fifths of those present in each chamber are required to vote yes for a bill in order to pass a measure over the governor's objections.

House members are scheduled to vote on the override Wednesday.

Although a magistrate would have to recuse himself or herself from performing any marriages for at least six months, the bill is widely read as a way to give those who object to performing same-sex weddings legal cover. The measure came in the wake of a federal court ruling saying North Carolina's laws blocking gay marriages were in violation of the Constitution.

McCrory has said that, like many lawmakers, he does not favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. However, he said in a veto statement that judicial officials must uphold the laws of the state.

"We are a nation and state of laws," McCrory wrote. "Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and discharge the duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath."

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said he took exception to the governor's characterization of the bill. Rather, he said, Senate Bill 2 merely gives otherwise dedicated public servants a way to continue working for the state without compromising their religious principles.

"They do not park their first amendment rights at the door," Berger, R-Rockingham, said.

But Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, said that magistrates and employees in county register of deeds offices who issue marriage licenses take an oath to uphold the laws of the state.

"The law of North Carolina today recognizes same-sex marriages," McKissick said.

He said the bill could allow magistrates to opt out based on their preference not to marry couples of different races.

Other senators said the bill sends the wrong messages to prospective companies looking to come to North Carolina.

The bill is the subject of intense scrutiny by outside groups.

"Every American is guaranteed the freedom to live and work consistent with their faith without unnecessary government interference," said Concerned Women for America state director Sheri Miller. "The government shouldn't have a license to punish Americans for exercising these basic civil rights."

Pro-LGBT groups decried the Senate vote.

"From the business community to local leaders across the state to the Governor, North Carolinians have stood up and said Senate Bill 2 is deeply problematic legislation," said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina. "SB 2 aims to discriminate against same-sex couples and, in the process, creates problems for all people who seek use of taxpayer-funded public services."

39 Comments

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  • David Moses Jun 5, 2015
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    This whole process has been a waste of time and taxpayer money. The bill is unconstitutional and will be struck down if passed into law. We can’t circumvent the Constitution just to appease those who don’t agree with it.

  • Lee Bennett Jun 3, 2015
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    The math here is wrong. The 67/43 vote means that 67/110 = 60.9% voted to pass the bill in the House, and there were 10 abstentions. Assuming that none of those votes change and all of the previous abstainers cast a vote when this comes up in the House, Tim Moore would have to get five of them to vote for override in order to pass the bill. That may be a tall order.

  • Charlie Watkins Jun 3, 2015
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    No magistrate should be sworn in unless they have been approved by the LGBT. They must be made to pledge to support the LGBT like soldiers swear to follow the orders of the Commander- In - Chief.

  • Anthony Snark Jun 2, 2015
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    That's a joke right?

  • Richard Trantham Jun 2, 2015
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    Hooray! Let's here it for the right of citizens!

  • Ashley Moore Jun 2, 2015
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    Slippery slope logic. I thought that was exclusively used by the Right?

  • Anthony Snark Jun 2, 2015
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    Someone doesn't understand how our legislative/judicial system works. It is the job of judges to determine if a law violates the constitution. Just because you don't like the outcome, doesn't mean that it is incorrect.

  • Ronnie Peacock Jun 2, 2015
    user avatar

    Liberals say the law of NC recognizes fake marriage, but that's a lie. Laws are passed by the elected representatives of the people. Those representatives have passed no such law. Constitutionally, judges cannot create laws, a FACT lost on liberals, the media, and low-information voters. It's time to return to the constitutional way of creating laws and rein in rogue judges.

  • Kathryn Adams Jun 2, 2015
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    Human sexuality is a lot more complicated, and involves many more factors than just genetics. The fact that scientists have not isolated one specific gene for being gay isn't the same as "proof" that being gay is a choice.

    And it's a silly assumption to begin with anyway, the idea that someone can simply choose who they have an attraction to. Were you born with an attraction to the same gender, or maybe both genders, and at some point decided that you were only going to be attracted to the opposite gender? Or have you always known even as a child that you were only attracted to the opposite sex?

  • Crystal Stewart Jun 2, 2015
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    Pretty soon doctors and other healthcare professionals will be able to choose who they treat based on their religion, sexuality, or just the way they look in general. And then what? All of you whiny bigots will be crying to someone about how fair it is because you were discriminated against. And you know what? I can't wait for it to happen to you.

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