LEGAL CHALLENGES TO THE COURT’S DECISION

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states doesn’t change what’s been happening in North Carolina, since federal judges in October overturned the state’s constitutional amendment that limited marriage to a man and a woman. Legal challenges seeking to preserve the amendment’s validity will be unlikely. But lawmakers may soon face a legal fight over a new law, SB 2, which the Governor vetoed, overridden by the two Chambers, that allows some court workers to refuse to participate in gay marriages. “This victory is one we will celebrate for years to come and yet there is so much more to be done,” Equality North Carolina executive director Chris Sgro said at a Raleigh news conference. He said employment non-discrimination laws for LGBT residents must be passed in North Carolina. House Speaker Tim Moore, and Senate leader Phil Berger, called the decision “disappointing” but said they would work to ensure compliance with the ruling, according to Gary Robertson of The Associated Press. Governor McCrory said Friday that he believed marriage should be determined by the states and should be between a man and a woman, but that he’d ensure the rule of law was upheld. Gay rights groups and Democrats in the legislature already are looking at challenging in court a new state law allowing magistrates and some register of deeds workers to refuse to participate in gay marriage duties based on their religious objections. They say the law is discriminatory and was enacted illegally. Governor McCrory said no public official voluntarily taking an oath should be exempt from upholding their constitutional duties. Court employees who cite the objection will be unable to officiate at any marriage — gay and traditional.

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