Posts Tagged As: North Carolina
September 11th, 2015
Following the story of Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to residents of her county, attention has turned to the magistrates in McDowell County, North Carolina. (wlos.com)
Magistrates in McDowell County are refusing to perform same sex marriages.
A supervising judge confirmed to News 13 on Thursday that four workers in the office – Hilary Hollified, Thomas Atkinson, Debbie Terrell and Chad Johnson – have recused themselves under the North Carolina’s religious exemption law.
Some are seeing this as discrimination and bigotry just like in Rowan County and Something That Must Be Stopped. I see the situations as very dissimilar and am not much troubled by McDowell County or their magistrates.
Magistrates do not have any gate-keeping duties as to who can marry in the county. Those who choose to can officiate civil marriages, though they are not required to do so (nor, I believe, have they ever been so required). And McDowell County has provided replacements, magistrates from another county, so as to ensure that anyone wishing a civil marriage may have one. No rights are being denied.
But a more important distinction, to me, is the motivation. In McDowell County the issue is “what I must do” while in Rowan County the issue is “what you cannot do”.
For all that Kim Davis protests that she only wants to not have her name associated with marriages of which she disapproves, her actions show a different motive. The minute that her deputy clerks issued marriage licenses without her name – substituting “office of Rowan County” for “office of Kim Davis” – her attorneys insisted that the licenses were invalid. Davis’ goal is not removing herself from association with same-sex marriages but rather it’s prohibiting all such marriages in her county.
There have been a number of judges and magistrates and mayors and other officials across the country who have quietly removed marriage officiation from their list of services in order to avoid participation in same-sex marriages. And while this is a decision that is in conflict with my own values, so long as this is not a significant or relevant part of their duties and so long as an adequate replacement is provided, I am not much inclined to force people to do things that are contrary to their conscience.
Further, I think that throwing energy into coercive efforts (“they must follow my values, not their values, or they should be fired”) distracts from situations that truly are egregious and abusive. It makes our cause seem more about forcing or punishing others and less about achieving freedom for ourselves.
Seeking to block legal public services and deny civil rights, such as the efforts of Kim Davis, is a matter that deserves our attention and our ire. And, rightly, our community fought back and, if polls are correct, we won the debate.
But insisting that individual magistrates personally participate in same-sex marriages does not deserve our time nor serve our cause.
June 11th, 2015
In May the North Carolina legislature passed Senate Bill 2, a bill designed to allow individual Magistrates to give up conducting marriages and to allow assistant Registrars to give up issuing marriage licenses. Republican Governor Pat McCrory vetoed the bill, saying that public officials who swear to perform the duties of their office should not be exempt from doing so.
On June 2nd, the state Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto and today the House did the same. So the bill becomes law.
Here’s what it does:
While this is seen as an affront to our community, it is not clear that it will have much real impact on same-sex couples seeking marriage. The provisions require that licenses be issued and marriages be conducted and it probably matters little whether any specific Magistrates or Assistant Register of Deeds individually participate.
And it should be noted that the state has been issuing marriage licenses and conducting marriages since October 2014, and things appear to be going smoothly. I suspect that the offices of the various Registers of Deeds and Magistrates have by now pretty much identified ways to comply with the law without any serious loss of religious freedom or significant inconvenience to marrying parties. I doubt much will change.
June 2nd, 2015
Last week, the North Carolina Senate and House both passed a bill which would allow individual magistrates (but not all magistrates in a county) to forego conducting civil marriages for all couples, gay or straight. Republican Governor Pat McCrory vetoed the bill, saying that public officials who swear to perform the duties of their office should not be exempt from doing so.
But the legislature may well be redefining the duties of office. (Reuters)
The Republican-led state Senate reached the three-fifths majority needed to override McCrory’s veto in a 32-16 vote. The legislation now goes back to the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives, which passed it last week by a margin wide enough to override the veto.
As discussed earlier, this bill could result in an inconvenience to all couples, gay or straight, in some counties. But it does not appear to me to be a tool for invidious discrimination and would likely hold up in court.
May 28th, 2015
Today the North Carolina House of Representatives will vote for the third and final time to approve Senate Bill 2. As it has passed the Senate and there are no revisions, it will go directly to the Governor. And while Gov. Pat McCrory has said that he does not support the bill, he may let it become law without his signature.
Quite a bit of kerfuffle has been raised about the bill with various “EMERGENCY!” emails flying about. But, within the LGBT community, not a lot has been said about the content of the “anti-gay marriage bill”. So I read the bill. And it may not be so very ookie-spookie scary as one otherwise might think.
Here’s what it says:
This is not an onerous burden on same-sex couples. No gay couples are being turned away where straight couples are accepted. All legal licenses are being issued and every county is providing magistrates for marriage, impartially.
In fact, the greatest imposition of this bill is on the Register of Deeds and the Chief District Court Judge who are tasked with managing staff and ensuring that the newly added minimum service requirements are upheld.
The only question that I see remaining, is whether individuals who work for the State should be compelled to participate in procedures which violate their conscience in order to maintain employment. And that is an matter about which people of good will may differ.
North Carolina’s Republican Governor has stated that he will veto the bill. (Citizen Times)
Acting just hours after the legislation passed the House, Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday he will veto a bill that would allow some state officials to opt out performing or issuing documents for same-sex marriages.
“We are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath,” McCrory said in a statement.
The vote in the House was
not strong enough to overturn a veto.
We mistakenly stated above that the vote in the House was not strong enough to overturn a veto. That is incorrect. A veto requires override requires “three-fifths of the members of that house present and voting”. The House vote was 60.9% (67 yes votes of 110 cast). To survive a veto override, two yes votes would have to vote not to override.
Because the majority of yes votes were from the same party as the Governor, there may be some unwillingness on the part of some members to defy the decision of the leader of the party. So it is not an entirely unlikely scenario that the bill will stay killed.
October 10th, 2014
A federal judge in North Carolina has struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately.
U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., in Asheville issued a ruling Friday shortly after 5 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.
Which brings the total to 29 plus the district of Columbia.
The ruling may only apply to two counties. This is NOT the case that everyone has been watching, the one in which the GOP is seeking to fight the Fourth Circuit’s ruling.
This is a case brought by the United Church of Christ which argued that denying their ability to perform same-sex marriages was a violation of their religious freedom.
For now, it looks like the ruling applies to the whole state.
October 9th, 2014
The Republican majority in the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives have filed a brief arguing that the ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was denied certiorari by the Supreme Court, does not apply to their state. Because those crazy liberals in Virginia made concessions in court that the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature would never make, therefor their ban on same-sex marriage – unlike everyone else’s – should be upheld.
They are being represented by John Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, who ran Attorney General in the Republican primary, winning 34%. Eastman is not exactly the most persuasive of legal minds and his involvement is likely to be an advantage to marriage equality proponents. You may recall him from his unbroken string of colossal losses in NOM’s battle to defy state political donor laws.
Should the judge write a big giant F in red ink across the face of their brief, they alternately want to be granted the right to appeal any ruling for marriage to the Fourth Circuit (who already ruled for equality), to the court en banc (good luck with that) and to the Supreme Court (which has already denied cert from this circuit).
October 8th, 2014
Y’all will be excited to know that following Monday’s denial of certiorari by the Supreme Court of the appeal in marriage cases heard by the Fourth Circuit, Chief U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. has lifted the stay on same-sex marriage licenses in North Carolina.
We’re also hearing word that marriages licenses may be available in one county in Kansas.
It appears that the stay was not on marriage case rulings, but rather on the advancement of the cases. Thus marriage equality has NOT come to North Carolina. Yet.
October 6th, 2014
With today’s Supreme Court non-decision, about 53% of all Americans now live in jurisdictions with marriage equality. That’s twenty-four states and the District of Columbia. Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Utah will open their clerk offices to same-sex couples as soon as the various Federal District Courts go through their formalities. Those formalities are already out of the way in Colorado, Oklahoma, Virginia and Utah. Things are happening so fast I wouldn’t be surprised if Indiana gets the go-ahead before I finish writing this post. Meanwhile, you can expect that Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming will follow suit any day now, since they too are now bound by the decisions already handed down in the in the 4th Circuit, 7th Circuit, and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals.
The biggest wild card remains the Sixth Circuit, which heard oral arguments last August in a Michigan challenge to that state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. That court also heard oral arguments from four other states — Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — challenging those states’ bans on recognizing legal marriages from out of state. If the Sixth Circuit goes all contrarian and upholds any of those bans, then we could expect the issue to be dropped once again at the Supreme Court’s footsteps.
And to think that barely over a decade ago, our relationships were still criminalized in fourteen states.
Now, it’s possible that the three-judge panel in Cincinnati may rule against marriage equality. It’s also conceivable that a three-judge panel in the Fifth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits could uphold a same-sex marriage ban in, say, Louisiana, for example.
But if one did, it seems much more likely that the entire circuit would step in for an en banc decision. But even if that didn’t happen, then sure, maybe an anti-equality decision could conceivably make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But by then, some two-thirds or more of all Americans are likely to be living in marriage equality states. Would the Supreme Court go back and overturn all of that? That now seems preposterous. Today’s non-decision is the new law of the land.
April 28th, 2014
A strong component of the organized opposition to marriage equality lies in a desire to impose religious conformity. Although expressed as “religious freedom”, it’s quite the opposite. Opponents are not content with having the state stay out of their religious sacraments and ceremonies; rather, they desire that the state step in and declare that only their religious marriages are respected and those of other positions or faiths be denied.
Now the United Church of Christ is fighting back. (Charlotte Post)
The General Synod of the United Church of Christ filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, contending state law that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman restrict its ministers from performing their religious duties is unconstitutional.
North Carolina prohibits couples of the same gender from obtaining a marriage license and makes it a crime for ministers to officiate a marriage ceremony without determining whether a couple has a license. UCC attorneys say the law limits ministers’ choices, violates the principle of “free exercise of religion” and restricts the freedoms of religion and expressive association guaranteed in the First Amendment. The church seeks a preliminary injunction that would allow ministers the choice of performing a religious marriage.
Although UCC is taking the lead, other individual places of worship have added their name to the lawsuit. (Charlotte Observer)
The Charlotte-area clergy members who have joined them include Allison of Holy Covenant; Robin Tanner, pastor of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church; Rabbi Jonathan Freirich of Temple Beth El; Nancy Kraft, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran, and Nathan King, senior pastor at Trinity Reformed UCC in Concord.
They are joined by Asheville ministers Joe Hoffman of First Congregational UCC and Mark Ward of the city’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation; along with Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist in Raleigh.
I commend the denomination for this latest step in their long history of supporting the gay community. And I think that this may effectively illustrate for some that their insistence at imposing their own religious creeds into state law impose a burden not just on gay people but also on communities of faith.
July 9th, 2013
Fresh off its victory in Windsor v. U.S. which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, the ACLU’s is filing three more lawsuits, in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia. In Whitewood v. Corbett, the ACLU is challenging Pennsylvania’s statute which bans same-sex marriage. In Fisher-Borne v. Smith, the ACLU will amend its lawsuit seeking adoption rights to include the right to marriage. In the Virginia case, the ACLU and Lambda Legal are still in the planning stages, with plaintiffs and precise details of the case still being worked out. They expect to file that lawsuit later this summer.
Meanwhile, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a motion with the New Mexico Supreme Court, asking it to order state officials to allow same-sex couples to marry. State law is currently silent on the question. Other lawsuits are working their way through Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and Michigan.
May 31st, 2012
It seems that everyone is looking for their Big Viral Internet Meme in the sun. The problem is, some of those viruses are deadly. A pastor in Newton, North Carolina wants to round up gay people and put them in concentration camps; his flock stands behind him. Another pastor, Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, says that gays should be killed:
They should be put to death. That’s what happened in Israel. That’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversions. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet. — ‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t but they should. [You say], ‘oh, I can’t believe you, you’re horrible. You’re a backwards neanderthal of a person.’ Is that what you’re calling scripture? Is God a neanderthal backwards.. in his morality? Is it his word or not? If it’s his word, he commanded it. It’s his idea, not mine. And I’m not ashamed of it.”
Knapp later claimed that he really didn’t mean it, using words to suggest that he really, deep down, did. “We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things. It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption,” he told CNN.
And then there’s the viral video of a four year old boy at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana, singing, “Ain’t no homo’s gonna make it to heaven.” The congregation leapt to its feet in shouts and applause. Someone — a parent probably? — shouted “That’s my boy!” They loved it so much that they brought the kid up for an encore. Greensburg is where 14-year-old Billy Lucas killed himself because he was perceived as being gay. The community banded together for a massive cover-up, but Billy’s memorial page on Facebook told the real story, leading me to dub Greensburg America’s Ugliest Town.
And you know what? It apparently still is, although several other pastors are trying to put their own towns in the running.
May 25th, 2012
The New York Times has an article about Bob Page and Replacements Limited, the sole North Carolina corporation of any size to oppose Amendment One. The good Christian North Carolinians loved the sinner and hated the sin by sending Page vile messages and canceling their business.
Mr. Page doesn’t care. He loves what he does, his husband, and his kids and doesn’t do it for the money (which, as it turns out, is substantial).
It’s a nice article and you should read it. But what really touched me and set the perfect start of a holiday weekend were the comments to the article. I saw nary a “God said” or a “defending the family”, but there were some truly lovely sentiments. Here is a tiny sample:
My mother was brought up, and remains, a fervent Christian. In her formative years, homosexuality was a crime and even worse, a sin. When she was middle aged, we would argue about it. By then, her stance has evolved to yes, God created some people this way… but they didn’t have to “practice it.” In her 80s, she and the other (largely white-haired) members of her congregation were forced to choose between their openly gay and much beloved minister, and their church. After a lifetime of funding the church and finally paying off its mortgage, they woud lose the building, as well as any connection to Presbyterianism. These wonderful, elderly, very traditional, women searched their souls and chose to remain with the minister, following him to another, non-Presbyterian church. Now in her 90s, my mother recently mentioned how proud she was of Obama for taking a stand in favour of marriage equality. You can imagine how proud that made me!
Dear Mr. Page,
Thank you. My wife, Jane Lynch, and I have many pieces from your shop. We love Russell Wright Iroquois- and your web site has provided us with many hard to find pieces. Now I know more about the life you have lived and what your store represents. I am sorry that so many people are being so awful in response to your stance in support of equality for all. I want you to know how much we appreciate it, and you. And should you see any luncheon size plates in Oyster, well…please keep sending the updates.
Warm regards and great appreciation,
I’m pretty sure that considering how much Barnes and Noble pay Jane Lynch for their Nook commercials, this free endorsement of Mr. Page and his company by Lara Embry is much appreciated.
Update: Here is the link to Replacements, Ltd., for all of your dish queeny needs.
May 25th, 2012
You see, part of the problem is that when Pastor Charles Worley said that “I figured a way out to get rid of all the lesbians and queers” by putting them behind an electric fence, it was all taken out of context.
May 22nd, 2012
It isn’t reasonable to hold one pastor responsible for what another one preaches. There is a great deal of diversity of thought and theology within Christendom and there is no presumption that what is said from the pulpit at First Baptist Church in any way mirrors the beliefs of All Saints Episcopal Church. We don’t hold one church accountable.
But sometimes something so outlandish is said in the name of faith that it requires a denunciation. A rejection. A refutation.
And the words of North Carolina pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church calling for placing gays and lesbians behind electric fences is beyond the pale. This is not a casual suggestion, this is not a theological position, this is not a difference of perspective, this is not an idea with which we are unfamiliar and about which reasonable people could differ. This is advocacy for evil.
So now we will see whether The Church responds.
Certainly there will be those who are asked and who will, naturally, say that they do not support such a notion. But will they be willing to call such a sermon evil or ungodly? Will they be willing to publicly refute Worley and chastise him? Are they brave enough to declare that such a proposition is anti-Christ and that it reflects a heart that is not right with God? Will whatever Baptist organization with which he is affiliated pull his license?
These are not just reasonable responses, they are required responses. When a sermon calls for an act that is of such a level of evil, godly persons cannot stand by and claim that they have no responsibility.
To say nothing is to condone Worley’s position. So be silent is to be complicit.
Church, take notice. It is your response by which today’s youth will judge you. If you say nothing, those who are unchurched will assume that Worley speaks for you.
It is a reasonable assumption.
May 22nd, 2012
I’m God’s preacher. I just believe the book. Living in a day when, you know what, it saddens my heart to think that homosexuals can go around, bless God, and get the applause of a lot of people. Lesbians and all the rest of it? Bless God, forty years ago they’d have hung ’em, bless God, from a white oak tree, wouldn’t they? Amen.
– North Carolina pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church during a sermon in 1978.
Today, he just wants to round ’em up and put them behind electric fences where they’d just die off naturally. You see? There’s progress.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.