Yesterday was the first day of legal gay marriage in North Carolina, which means you knew this was going to happen:
William Locklear and his partner showed up at the county courthouse Monday expecting to get married after 31 years together.
The couple didn’t get the chance.
A magistrate turned them away.
“He said, ‘I won’t be performing your marriage because of my religious beliefs,'” Locklear said.
The article never mentions the faith of the magistrate, but would anyone like to take a wild guess…?
The solution here is a no-brainer. This isn’t a church; it’s a government building. If your religion prevents you from doing your job, you need to find a different line of work. (While we’re at it, if your religion supports bigotry, you should look for a different one of those, too.)
It doesn’t even make sense since no one’s asking the magistrate for approval or endorsement of the marriage. It’s someone who just has to read a few words and sign some paperwork. Does the guy also refuse to marry people who have been divorced? Interracial couples? Couples who don’t want to have children?
The unnamed magistrate — and I don’t know why a government official who deems himself above the law should be given the protection of anonymity — hasn’t resigned or been fired yet. For some reason.
Thankfully, the couple found a magistrate happy to perform the ceremony and got married earlier today.