Equality Federation denounced today the enactment North Carolina Senate Bill 2, an anti-LGBT law that allows magistrates and other public officials to opt out of performing marriage services for couples if they have religious objections to certain marriages. The law had been vetoed by Governor Pat McCory, but today the House of Representatives voted 69-41 to override his decision, which means SB 2 will become law.
Ian Palmquist, Equality Federation Director of Leadership Programs, responded, “As a Tar Heel, I’m saddened that my state will allow personal bias to justify state officials opting out of a part of their jobs. One thing is clear: this new law is out of step with the public even in the conservative South. That’s why we’re working hard to lift up the voices for equality in the region and call on legislators to advance common-sense updates to state laws that address, rather than allow discrimination.”
Equality Federation member Equality North Carolina worked tirelessly against the bill. Executive Director Chris Sgro said, “We are disappointed to see the House vote against the the legal rights and best interests of LGBT people and of the entire state of North Carolina. From the business community to local leaders to the governor, North Carolinians have stood up and said SB 2 is deeply problematic and discriminatory legislation. While it targets same-sex couples, in the process it creates problems for all North Carolinians who seek use of taxpayer-funded public services.”
Despite broad opposition from businesses, faith leaders, legal experts, and a majority of Registers of Deeds, in today’s expedited session, GOP leadership disallowed debate over the contentious anti-LGBT bill. The override vote exceeded the required three-fifths majority by a margin of only 3 votes. Ten members, including many who opposed the legislation, were absent.
Afterwards, Governor McCory tweeted, “It’s a disappointing day for the rule of law and the process of passing legislation.”
LGBT organizations are currently working to determine if the law will hold up to legal scrutiny. Equality North Carolina is asking people who face discrimination when seeking a marriage or marriage licence to call them at 919.829.0343 x114.