Despite opposition from North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, the state House voted on Thursday (June 11) to override the governor’s veto of a law that will allow some register of deeds workers who process marriage licenses and magistrates to stop performing all marriages – gay and straight couples- if they hold a “sincerely held religious objection.”
Although the language of the new law includes all marriages, the focus is on same-sex couples who wish to wed in the state, which will more than likely result in longer waits at courthouses for those seeking to exchange nuptials because of the potential decrease of manpower available to issue licenses or perform marriages. According to the Associated Press, the law is the second of its kind passed in the nation. The other was passed in the state of Utah earlier in the year.
Governor McCrory said he would not sign the bill despite his opposition to same-sex marriage. His decision to veto came on the basis that he believes no state employee should be able to break his or her government oath, which this new law now allows. Needless to say, his position put him at odds with many conservatives made evident by overrides by the Senate and now the state House.
The new law could also increase the workload for either the chief District Court judge or the county registers of deeds. As elected officials, both would have to fill in if enough members opt out of issuing licenses for religious purposes. In certain counties of the state, that task could fall down to a single person, which would result in the longer waits.
The law goes into affect as the nation awaits a decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of same-sex marriage. A favorable ruling would end same-sex marriage bans in the remaining states where bans haven’t already been overturned, thus legalizing marriage between same-sex couples nationwide.