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Published On: Wed, Jan 25th, 2017

Liberty Counsel defends North Carolina judges, magistrates’ freedom of conscience for gay wedding accomodations

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief yesterday at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding state magistrates and their constitutional right to intervene to defend their religious liberty, which is being challenged in the case of Ansley v. Warren. Liberty Counsel represents, among others, Magistrate Brenda Bumgarner, who has an excellent record during her 10 years of service as a magistrate, and who seeks a religious opt out of performing “marriages” for same-sex couples.
Liberty Counsel argues 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.”
gavel judge court case ruling

photo by Okan Caliskan via Pixabay

Liberty Counsel has sought to intervene on behalf of the magistrates because the Attorney General will not vigorously defend the law. 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.

“Magistrates 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 who believes in natural marriage. We are proud to defend Magistrate Brenda Bumgarner and others in this case as it has an effect on all judges and their sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Staver.

About Liberty Counsel

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.

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