N.C. justices seek legal protection from performing gay weddings

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |

RALEIGH, N.C. (Christian Examiner) -- North Carolina magistrates being forced to choose between their jobs and and religious convictions that prohibit them from performing same-sex marriages are taking their case to court.

In a press statement released February 13, The Liberty Counsel announced it had filed suit on behalf of two plaintiffs who face fines, suspension or termination for not officiating gay unions. The Florida-based Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit legal organization that seeks to advance religious freedom in America.

"While the federal court orders require that Defendants make marriage licenses and marriage ceremonies available to same-sex couples, they do not require that every magistrate in the state be compelled to perform such ceremonies under threat of suspension, termination or even criminal prosecution," the Liberty Counsel lawsuit states.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, told Christian Examiner the situation was a type of religious persecution.

"They are being forced to participate in a moral act that is in direct relation with their religious freedom and we don't think they should be put in that position and we are trying to intercede to help them," Staver said.

Is a statement on LibertyCounsel.org, Staver offered there is a national trend that does not bode well for Christians.

"This case reveals the conflicts erupting across the United States as intolerant activists impose their will on the majority of Americans who refuse to participate in same-sex unions," Staver wrote. 

The suit seeks to require accommodations be made for magistrates who object to the same-sex unions and requests emergency protection from the state courts for those who refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Staver said the Liberty Counsel plans to ask the court to set up an early hearing in order to get an injunction that protects the magistrates who reached out to his organization and are refusing to issue the marriage licenses.