The number of North Carolina magistrates who have resigned or retired early because of their opposition to performing same-sex marriages is higher than previously reported.
Last month, a federal judge cleared the way for same-sex marriages in North Carolina, prompting the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to direct magistrates. They are required by law to perform the wedding ceremonies, if asked.
AOC reports between that ruling on Oct. 10 and the end of the month, 16 magistrates left their jobs, but the state wouldn’t release why they left.
“I explained to the judges that I could not continue to perform as a magistrate if it included doing something that was against my sincere religious beliefs,” Kallam said at a rally supporting his decision to quit his job.
“I felt like to perform same sex unions would be in violation of the Lord’s commands so I couldn’t do that,” said former Gaston Co. Magistrate Bill Stevenson after his resignation.
Time Warner Cable News has been able to determine at least 10 of the 16 magistrates who left last month, did so because they will not perform same-sex marriages.
“There were no offers to make any accommodations,” Kallam said. “I basically was told that you either do this or you will be suspended without pay and will then be dismissed.”
For a little perspective, the court system reports there are 672 magistrates across the state, so only about 1.5 percent have left because of the same-sex marriage ruling.
But that creates a new challenge for the magistrates still on the job.
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