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On the Magistrate and Narrow…

By Tony Perkins

Pasquotank County is hard to pronounce — but it’s not nearly as difficult as pronouncing two women “wife and wife.” That’s how North Carolina Magistrate Gary Littleton felt when a same-sex couple asked him to “marry” them at a courthouse this week. Unfortunately for Littleton, his constitutional rights are of no concern to local liberals, who insist that the judge should have to check his religious beliefs at the workplace door.

“My understanding,” said Chief District Court Judge Christopher Bean, “is that a couple came and asked to be married and he refused to marry them based upon his, I guess, religious or moral principles.” Like the overwhelming majority of Tar Heels, Littleton probably voted to define marriage as the union of a man and woman in 2012. Now, two years later, he doesn’t believe that a handful of unelected judges should be able to override his vote — and the vote of 1,317,177 others. “I suppose that it can be construed that he broke the law, because that is a duty that the magistrate has, to perform marriages,” Bean went on. Yesterday, the county met to determine if Littleton could face criminal charges for exercising the freedom the First Amendment guarantees.

While he and other clerks await their fate, a federal judge has given Speaker of the North Carolina House, Thom Tillis, the right to defend his state’s marriage amendment in court. An appeal could kick the issue back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down Virginia’s law.

Meanwhile, one of the Tar Heels’ most recognizable church faces, Rev. Franklin Graham, says he barely recognizes his country. “It’s sad when a judge is able to overrule the will of the people. This is a democracy and the people spoke. We’re seeing that activist judges across the country are overturning the will of the people. We saw that in California. We’re now seeing it here in North Carolina now. I don’t know what will take place.” But capitulation won’t be it.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)


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