House panel taking up Senate bill exempting some NC court officials from marriage duties

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — The state House is quickly taking up Senate legislation giving North Carolina magistrates and other judicial workers the ability to refuse to carry out duties for same-sex marriages due to their religious objections.

A House judiciary committee scheduled debate Wednesday on the measure, which cleared the Senate last week. Senate leader Phil Berger filed the bill in response to a local magistrate quitting his job rather than presiding after federal judges struck down North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban in October.

The proposal would prevent a magistrate or assistant or deputy register of deeds from performing duties for all marriages for at least six months.

Opponents of the exemption say public officials can't pick and choose which duties they'll execute and consider it thinly-veiled discrimination.

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