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.