North Carolina to Pay Over $200K to Magistrate for Not Accommodating Her Religious Convictions About Marriage

RALEIGH, N.C. — The State of North Carolina has agreed to pay over $200,000 to a former magistrate who resigned from the bench in 2014 as she felt forced out after a federal court struck down the state’s same-sex “marriage” ban and her superiors would not allow an accommodation for her religious beliefs.

As previously reported, in October 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Max Cogburn, Jr. ruled in the case of General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper that “refusing to recognize same sex marriages originating elsewhere, and/or threatening to penalize those who would solemnize such marriages, are unconstitutional.”

The ruling resulted in the resignations of several Christian magistrates, who knew that they could not go against their convictions in officiating the unions of those of the same sex. Among those who stepped down from the bench were Judge John Kallam Jr. of Rockingham County, Bill Stevenson of Gaston County, Tommy Holland of Graham County, Jeff Powell of Jackson County, and Gayle Myrick of Union County.

Myrick’s supervisor sought to be accommodating to the magistrate, and offered to move her shift so that she wasn’t working during the hours when weddings are customarily officiated. Other magistrates also offered to cover for her. However, as her superiors said this was not acceptable, Myrick felt she had no other choice but to resign.

“Other magistrates routinely shifted their schedules for a variety of reasons—from simple things like fishing trips, to substantial issues like night classes or drug rehab. If Gayle had asked to shift her schedule for any other reason, she would have been allowed to keep her job,” the religious liberties organization Becket outlined. “But because her request was motivated by her religious beliefs, she was forced to resign just two months before her retirement benefits vested.”

Myrick filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, and last March, Administrative Law Judge Michael Devine ruled in her favor.

“Complainant demonstrated she was constructively discharged because of a changed employment requirement that conflicted with her religious beliefs, and declining to perform it would subject her to removal and potential criminal charges,” he wrote. “Respondents failed to present sufficient evidence that providing an accommodation of Plaintiff’s religious beliefs to the end of her term created an undue burden.”

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Read Devine’s ruling in full here.

The State later withdrew its appeal and entered into a settlement with Myrick. The settlement includes $122,660 in back pay, $50,435 in front pay, and a nearly $37,000 payment to the North Carolina Retirement System. $115,000 will also be paid to cover the fees of Myrick’s attorneys.

“Our country has found ways to honor the consciences of those with differing views on the death penalty, the draft, and abortion. And federal employment anti-discrimination law requires we do the same on marriage too,” the Heritage Foundation said in a statement, as reported by The Daily Signal. “Anything less would be un-American.”

View the settlement here.

1 Peter 5:22 reads, “[N]either be partaker of other men’s sins; keep thyself pure.”

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  • Robin Egg

    Praise the Lord!

  • james blue

    It is up to us to make the sacrifices in life in order to live by our faith, not have others make accommodations for us. If this means certain jobs are not suited to us, so be it.

    I applaud and admire her decision to resign rather than compromise her faith, but disagree with the payout.

    As a public official one has to supply all government issued documents and services to ALL who qualify under the law. Your personal beliefs shouldn’t enter into it. If you cannot do this then it is your responsibility to seek different employment.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      yup ….. and they are sacrificing to the tune of 200K …………… good call Jimmy …….nice PAGAN standard ………… and again i see NO mention of Christ and christianity except to compromise it ……….. what an “awesome” christian you are ….. you should ring bells as you approach …………

      • james blue

        Unlike you I believe that the only person responsible for living my life by my faith is me. I do not expect other people to accommodate my faith and I shouldn’t have to accommodate theirs.

        She did the right thing, her job required she compromise her faith so she took responsibility. After she sued I stopped agreeing with her.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          Riiight …. you are a “Meow” man ……… a pussycat ……. a warm fuzzy harmless little pussycat …… and your only purpose here is to preach a compromise of the christian faith …….. (see what i did there) ….. (i added the word cat) … and yes …. you ARE responsible to God for that preaching ……….. Jimmy Azul …………

    • Michael C

      I understand that you’re not claiming otherwise but I think it’s worth noting that your opinion is contrary to US law.

      • james blue

        Surely you are under no misconceptions about my opinion of that law.

  • Michael C

    Public and private employees must receive reasonable accommodations for their religious beliefs and practices. If these accommodations are of minimal cost and inconvenience to the operation of the business or government entity, there’s no reason not to provide them. This includes the wearing of religious articles of clothing, religious holidays off, breaks for scheduled prayer, and yes, sometimes an exemption from some duties that an employee cannot perform on religious grounds (as long as someone else is able to perform those duties in their place at minimal inconvenience to the employer).

    Sometimes an accommodation request is unreasonable because it unduly hinders the operation of the business or government entity, creates an unfair expense to the business, or unnecessarily inconveniences the customer or other recipients of the services. Unreasonable requests don’t need to be afforded. Examples of unreasonable accommodations would include cab drivers refusing service to people carrying alcohol or with service dogs or County Clerks refusing to allow any marriage licenses to be issued in an entire county.

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Rights of conscience trump sexual ‘rights’

  • Skywatcher57

    It’s a very sad day in N. America when anybody has to be forced to walk away from their job, no matter what their belief system is. It’s even sadder to see judges of such superior character resign when faced with opposition, rather than banding together to do something about it when they had the power to do so. They would’ve done more good for everybody who went before their benches, if they had stayed to fight for their constitutional rights and the rights for all. Now, without a doubt, the LGBT will have candidates ready and willing to stack the bench in their favor. It probably has already been done, long before now.

    I’m glad to see that this magistrate won her case, as her income will now be severely affected. I wonder if she will still be able to get her retirement pension? I hope so. God will ALWAYS honor those who put Him in first place in their lives. Watch this lady, and see where He puts her next!

  • LynnRH

    “Respondents failed to present sufficient evidence that providing an accommodation of Plaintiff’s religious beliefs to the end of her term created an undue burden.”

    Well……if they had no problem allowing their employees to shift their schedules for a variety of other reasons mentioned above in the article then they shouldn’t have had a problem with shifting the schedule for her. Just ANOTHER example of Christians being persecuted. Just as the Lord says. I’m glad the judge ruled in her favor. Serves the payors right!

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    Because of “inclusivity” ………. and “tolerance” ……

    In the name of inclusivity: Girls can’t say no to boys at elementary school dance

    Apparently, a girl can’t turn down a dance because they will hurt someone’s feeeeeeelings. What a mixed message this school is sending to young girls.

    From KCRG: (via CNN) — A Utah mom is upset about a school policy in which sixth grade girls can’t say “no” when boys ask them to dance. The mom says it sends the wrong message to the young students.

    “Oh no, no honey. You guys are misunderstanding again. That`s not how it is,” said Natalie Richard.

    When Richards sixth grade daughter told her she couldnt say no if a boy asked her to dance at Kanesville Elementarys valentines day dance, she didnt believe it at first. “The teacher said she cant. She has to say yes. She has to accept and I said excuse me?”

    So Richard took her concerns to the school principal. “He basically just said theyve had this dance set up this way for a long time and theyve never had any concerns before,” Richard said.

    Lane Findlay with the Weber School District confirms its a rule, but its meant to teach students how to be inclusive.

    “Please be respectful, be polite. We want to promote kindness and so we want you to say yes when someone asks you to dance,” said Findlay.