NC Magistrates Demand Right to Discriminate

Two magistrate judges in North Carolina have filed a lawsuit, represented by Liberty Counsel, demanding the right to discriminate against gay couples even though they represent the government in that job and the government is forbidden from engaging in such discrimination. Liberty Counsel’s press release is predictably absurd.

Today, Liberty Counsel will go to court to defend North Carolina magistrates who are being forced to officiate same-sex “weddings,” despite deeply held religious beliefs. Our clients must choose to abandon their religion or face suspension, termination, fines, or prosecution.

“While the federal court orders require that Defendants make marriage licenses and marriage ceremonies available to same-sex couples, they do not require that every magistrate in the state be compelled to perform such ceremonies under threat of suspension, termination or even criminal prosecution,” Liberty Counsel’s lawsuit points out. “Any number of accommodations can be made for magistrates who object to issuing marriage licenses for a same-sex union,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. Today Liberty Counsel is asking the state court for emergency protection for any magistrate who refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

“Militant homosexual activists do not want equal rights; they want superior rights, where their rights to same-sex weddings trump the constitutional rights of Christian magistrates and business owners,” said Mat Staver. The North Carolina Constitution provides: “All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

Okay, so you’d be fine if those judges refused to perform an interracial wedding, right? And don’t try to argue that that’s different because race is immutable and sexual orientation is not because that’s both false and irrelevant. Your argument is that the courts can never “control or interfere with the rights of conscience,” which means the only thing that matters is whether they believe that it’s wrong to preside over such a wedding, not whether you agree with them.

And I’m sure you’re fine with, say, a Muslim clerk refusing to issue a business license to a woman because they believe that women shouldn’t work, right? How about a Christian clerk who believes that? See, your argument is broad that it would allow virtually any form of discrimination by any person who works for the government. But the government is strictly forbidden from engaging in such discrimination. You don’t like that fact, I’m sure, but it remains a fact. And you’re going to lose this case. And I’m going to laugh at you.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • StevoR

    Not just you Ed, many people.

    A great many now and pretty much all the future generations to come.

    And they will add this to their long list of embarrassed shame that they ever thought thought as they did and said what they did.

  • hunter

    StevoR: What makes you think they’re aware enough of civilized behavior to feel shame?

    Ed: “. . . your argument is broad that it would allow virtually any form of discrimination by any person who works for the government.”

    That’s what they want — as long as that person is the right kind of “Christian.”

  • Matrim

    Our clients must choose to abandon their religion or face suspension, termination, fines, or prosecution.

    Well, yeah, that’s what happens when your religious beliefs are contingent on a crime. I suppose they think they should be able to stone adulterers to death without fear of legal ramifications too.

  • Hoosier X

    So, just exactly where in the bible does it say it’s a sin to issue marriage licenses?

  • John Pieret

    Two magistrate judges in North Carolina have filed a lawsuit, represented by Liberty Counsel

    So, we already know they are pretty dumb …

    While the federal court orders require that Defendants make marriage licenses and marriage ceremonies available to same-sex couples, they do not require that every magistrate in the state be compelled to perform such ceremonies under threat of suspension, termination or even criminal prosecution

    That last is, of course, bullshit. To a certain extent, I’m not against some accommodation, at least among lower level employees. If someone gets so upset at the very thought of dealing with icky gays, they’re not likely to do a good job of it. Transfer them to some other job (preferably involving windowless rooms and plenty of dust).

    But magistrates are a different matter. They are elected officials who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, including doing things that their religious beliefs might not otherwise condone, like marrying people who were previously divorced (making them, according to the Bible, adulterers). Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be married by some dour prig with a pole up his/her ass, but suck it up and do your job!

  • whheydt

    Two things leap out at me about his “argument”. The first is an application of the Law of Excluded Middle. His clients have a third alternative that avoids all the “bad” things he lists. They could resign from their jobs so that someone who will DO the job can be selected for the post.

    The other thing is…he’s going into *state* court to gain an exception to a *Federal* court order. If he wins in state court, I expect that–as soon as one of these yahoos declines to handle a same-sex marriage–a Federal suit will be filed.

    I do have one question…these guys are the plaintiffs. Who is the defendant?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    If it’s part of the duties of the job, fire ’em and get someone who’s willing to do the job.

  • John Pieret

    whheydt:

    Who is the defendant?

    It’s the North Carolina administrator of the court system that, early on, after the Federal court decisions, told all the magistrates that they had to issue same-sex marriage licenses and perform same-sex marriages or face discipline, including removal from office.

  • se habla espol

    North Carolina Constitution, Article VI, Section 7:

    Before entering upon the duties of an office, a person elected or appointed to the office shall take and subscribe the following oath:

    “I, _______________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States, and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not inconsistent therewith, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office as _______________, so help me God.”

    [emphasis added]

    The oath is actually quoted in the complaint, paragraph 10.

    So what they are asking is to be exempted from their oath of office—part of the NC Constitution—, while still retaining the office. Riiiiiight.

  • Alverant

    If someone gets so upset at the very thought of dealing with icky gays, they’re not likely to do a good job of it.

    Then they should be fired plain and simple. It shouldn’t matter who the customer is, it is not unreasonable to expect professional behavior from an employee. Do your job and do it right or you should quit. End. Of. Story.