Judge Dismisses Suit Challenging Law Allowing Magistrates to Opt-Out of Officiating ‘Gay Weddings’

Court-GavelRALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a North Carolina law that allows judges to opt out of officiating “gay weddings” because of their religious convictions.

U.S. District Judge Max Coburn, nominated to the bench by Barack Obama, ruled on Tuesday that the plaintiffs in the case lacked standing, as well as proof that they personally have been harmed by the law.

“The court … finds that Plaintiffs lack standing by virtue of the fact that their claims are merely generalized grievances with a state law with which they disagree,” he wrote.

As previously reported, S.B. 2 was introduced last year by Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, to allow magistrates to recuse themselves from officiating over the services, as well as to permit register of deeds workers to opt out of issuing licenses due to religious objections.

The bill came with one condition: that the individual remove themselves from the marriage business altogether.

“Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages … based upon any sincerely held religious objection,” it read in part. “Such recusal shall be upon notice to the chief district court judge and is in effect for at least six months from the time delivered to the chief district court judge.”

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed the legislation after being urged by homosexual advocacy groups to do so, but his veto was subsequently overruled by a majority vote.

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While reports state that no one has been denied a “marriage” license since the law was passed, two homosexuals and their partners filed suit against the legislation last December. An interracial couple sued as well.

“Senate Bill 2 expressly declares that magistrates religious beliefs are superior to their oath of judicial office,” attorney Luke Largess from the law firm Tin, Fulton, Walker and Owen argued. “The law spends public money to advance those religious beliefs. That is a straightforward violation of the First Amendment.”

While Coburn agreed that “there exists the potential that a citizen could suffer real or emotional harm as a result of S.B. 2,” he said that the specific plaintiffs in the case had no standing in the matter.

“As Plaintiffs have made no allegations of an ‘injury in fact’ that might otherwise allow them to assert standing in this case, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden of showing they have standing to bring Due Process and Equal Protection claims,” he wrote. “Accordingly, because Plaintiffs lack standing to bring their Fourteenth Amendment challenges, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over them and this action must be dismissed.”

Berger applauded the outcome.

“We appreciate the court recognizing the plaintiffs failed to identify even one North Carolinian who was denied the ability to get married under this reasonable law, which protects fundamental First Amendment rights,” he said.

The plaintiffs state that they will appeal the matter to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Only an estimated five percent of judges in North Carolina—32 out of 670—have recused themselves since the enactment of the statute.

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  • bowie1

    I assume once the gavel comes down, the judge would not be obligated to congratulate the new “couple”?

  • james blue

    So a Muslim DMV clerk can refuse to issue driver licenses and voter ID to women?

    • Nidalap

      If the judge says he can because of his convictions and they can EASILY get one from another, then yep! 🙂

      • james blue

        Why would it require a judge?

        • Nidalap

          For the same reason one was required this time.
          You know, following the normal order of events…refusal, lawsuit, yada-yada-yada…

  • Croquet_Player

    And yet these so called “religious convictions” don’t seem to prevent any of these people from presiding over the marriages of or issuing marriage certificates to divorced people who wish to remarry others. How very odd.

    • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

      There are rules to remarrying in the Bible. As long as the two fall under the right terms biblically, they are free to marry and be married by a Christian magistrate.

      • Croquet_Player

        How very convenient.

        • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

          It’s called fair and just. But if the word convenient works for you…

          • Croquet_Player

            It’s not fair and just to the taxpaying members of the general public who are entitled to avail themselves of any and all government services, but are being turned away.

          • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

            Except of course they have many other options and people and businesses willing, but that is not good enough. Let us be gay and practice our lifestyle, but do not let the Christians practice their faith. Hypocrisy…intolerance…. hate… EXACTLY what you guys accuse us of. If Christians worked as hard to tread down the LGTBQ community instead of just trying to live, work and exist as they have for over 2000 years, I would understand your fight. But there is no common sense at this point in time with the gaystopo or any of the other godless groups formed in this past few years. It’s fight. sue, fine, bully, harass, and DO NOT allow a Christian to be a Christian. It’s astonishing and quite sickening the way this has grown into the monster it has become in this country, and it’s spreading to other countries. Look what is happening around you, the world is in chaos! Push God out, oppress his people, change the laws and VOILA… an unethical, immoral, violent, perverse, self destructing land of self absorbed fools. Congratulations!
            The good news? JESUS will win in the end… God is our avenger. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~ Hebrews 10:31
            But even better news, there is still time for repentance and forgiveness before that day to any who will. Praise be to his holy name.

          • Croquet_Player

            It doesn’t matter that there may be other options. Government employees, including judges, are required to serve the general public equally and fairly, and the general public is entitled to avail themselves of government services, which is why the lawsuit was thrown out. You seem very confused by this.

          • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

            Not confused. It is just common sense. That has been thrown out the window when the gay “marriage” “law” was forced. And it does matter that they have other options. They are only proving that their agenda is not about love and fairness, but oppressing and squashing out any opposition. Although, for some strange reason, they do not go after the Muslims… hm.

          • Croquet_Player

            If a Muslim judge refused to provide services to a person, they would be equally liable. Yes, you are confused.

          • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

            You missed the blaring point, but I truly did not expect differently. We obviously will never come to an agreement.

          • Croquet_Player

            You don’t have a point. You are desperately trying to find some wiggle room so government employees can discriminate against certain members of the public. It’s not going to happen, and the sooner you come to grips with that fact, the better.

          • Miss Deplorable Chrissy Vee

            LOL.. ok player.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    All Americans should have freedom to oppose the culture’s immoral practices! The Word of God is the standard for conduct, not the West’s inclination to Sodomy.