State Lawmakers Override McCrory’s Veto; No Same-Sex Recusal Planned for Local Magistrate

Published Friday, June 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm

By Jesse Wood

On Thursday, the N.C. House, which is controlled by Republicans, voted 69-41 to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of the law allowing magistrates and other court personnel to refuse to marry same-sex couples on religious objections.

This followed the Senate’s veto override vote earlier this month.

McCrory released this statement after the House’s vote on Thursday:

“It’s a disappointing day for the rule of law and the process of passing legislation in North Carolina. I will continue to stand up for conservative principles that respect and obey the oath of office for public officials across our state and nation. While some people inside the beltline are focusing on symbolic issues, I remain focused on the issues that are going to have the greatest impact on the next generation such as creating jobs, building roads, strengthening education and improving our quality of life.”

In October, Watauga County Magistrate Dustin Shore wed the first same-sex couple – Cathy Growene (left) and Gina Razete – to marry in the Watauga County Magistrate’s Office. Photo by Jesse Wood

In October, Watauga County Magistrate Dustin Shore wed the first same-sex couple – Cathy Growene (left) and Gina Razete – to marry in the Watauga County Magistrate’s Office. Photo by Jesse Wood

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the conservative N.C. Values Coalition, praised the members of the N.C. General Assembly, while criticizing the governor.

“It’s hard to believe that any governor — much less a conservative one — would veto a bill protecting the religious freedoms of his constituents. The House and the Senate made the right call in overriding Governor McCrory’s ill-advised veto and we are grateful for their continued leadership in fighting to preserve this fundamental American freedom,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

The left-leaning ACLU-NC called yesterday a “sad day,” especially since same-sex couples were granted the right to marry in the state about eight months ago. It also encouraged same-sex couples who encounter hurdles in marrying to contact the local ACLU office.

“This a sad day for North Carolina that history will not judge kindly,” said Sarah Preston, executive director of the ACLU-NC. “Just eight months after our state extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, extremist lawmakers have passed discrimination into law, allowing government officials to deny marriage services to virtually any couple.”

Locally, though, this law might not have much of an impact – at least in Watauga County.

Dustin Shore, a magistrate in Watauga County, said that he hasn’t heard much talk about this law around the office leading him to believe that this is a “non-issue” and that the other local magistrates won’t recuse themselves.

However, he stressed that he couldn’t speak for the other magistrates.

“I know I won’t be recusing myself,” Shore said. “It is part of our job responsibility. I’ll be doing it.”

Shore, in fact, was the first magistrate to preside over a same-sex marriage in the Watauga County Magistrate’s Office in October when Gina Razete and Cathy Growene wed.

Shore was the only magistrate in the office on Friday afternoon.

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