The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals handed North Carolina magistrates a huge victory by ruling that the plaintiffs who opposed their religious liberty opt out of same-sex “marriage” lacked standing to challenge the law.
Liberty Counsel represented, among others, Magistrate Brenda Bumgarner, who has an excellent record during her 10 years of service as a magistrate, and who sought a religious opt out of performing “marriages” for same-sex couples. Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief that argued that SB 2 is not only constitutionally permissible but actually required for magistrates and judges. SB 2 states: “Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based upon any sincerely held religious objection.”
In 2015, Liberty Counsel filed suit on behalf of magistrates seeking accommodation for their religious convictions regarding same-sex “marriage.” The state house and senate passed SB 2 granting an accommodation, and both houses later overrode the governor’s veto. Liberty Counsel dismissed its suit, but then the new law was challenged by those who want to force magistrates to violate their religious convictions and consciences.
“We celebrate this victory for North Carolina magistrates who have the constitutional right to follow their conscience and rights to free exercise without fear of punishment,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The LGBT agenda seeks to steamroll over the conscience of everyone, including those who serve in the court system who believe in natural marriage. We were proud to defend Magistrate Brenda Bumgarner and others in this case as it sets a precedent and has an effect on all judges and their sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Staver.
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Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.