Religious Freedom Law Under Attack in North Carolina

This is for my North Carolina readers. Actually it’s for everyone, but it is very important for us Tar Heels to know what’s going on in our state.  First off, we should be grateful that we are blessed to live in a state that still respects freedom of conscience for all people—including the religious—and does so in a way that still upholds the rule of law where marriage is concerned.  In fact, Ryan Anderson, a well known advocate for traditional marriage, has praised the N.C. law as a “win-win” situation:

The law will now protect magistrates who object to performing solemnizing ceremonies for same-sex marriages and clerks who object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. It also makes clear that no one can be denied a marriage license, but magistrates or clerks could recuse themselves from the process behind the scenes should they have sincere objections to same-sex marriage.

So it’s a win-win for everyone. No one loses anything.

At the end of his article, Anderson extols the NC law as a model of tolerance and inclusion:

Religious objection is not a trump card, but employees’ religious objections should be accommodated when possible. The North Carolina law is a great example of this and a good model for achieving peaceful coexistence going forward. (Bold is my emphasis.)

But it appears that North Carolina’s good judgment and respect for freedom of conscience is under attack from—guess who?  The ACLU.  Here is an account of the situation from Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver:

About a year ago in 2015, Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina asking for a religious accommodation for those that refused, or did not want to participate in same-sex marriage licenses. The House and the Senate responded to that lawsuit by passing a piece of legislation that would allow them to opt out. The Governor vetoed that legislation. The House and the Senate overrode his veto. The law went into effect. The law provides for religious accommodation. The ACLU wants no religious accommodation, so the current lawsuit is the ACLU trying to strike down the state law that provides an opt-out for these magistrates who refuse to violate their religious conscience. (Bold is my emphasis.)

Source: LC Defends NC Magistrates from Being Forced to Perform Same-Sex Marriages » (From the transcript of an interview with Matt Barber, published on March 21, 2016)

I’ll have more to say on this situation later.  JG


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