On Thursday morning, after a 69-41 vote, the North Carolina House of Representatives overruled Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of the Religious Freedom Bill. The bill, which has since become state law, allows state court officials to deny to marry a gay couple because of their religious beliefs. Representative Larry Hall (D-Durham) stated, “We owe more to the citizens of North Carolina and the value of an oath.”
McCrory vetoed the bill just shortly after it reached his desk. He said no state employee that takes a voluntarily oath to support to Constitution should be, “exempt from upholding duties,” while at their job. The Religious Freedom bill was written in the legislature just months after federal judges struck down the state’s constitutional amendment set in 2012 that prohibited gay marriages.
The House GOP, who originally backed the idea, explained that government employees and officials have the right to work in place that defends their constitutionally-held religious beliefs. During a legislative debate last week, Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) stated, “Just because someone takes a job with the government does not mean they give up their First Amendment rights.”
Last week, the largely-opposed Democratic Party said the measure would create a bias in a state workplace. If the Religious Freedom Bill was not overridden, an employee at the Register of Deeds Office could decide whether or not to issue civil unions to gay couples based on their personal views.
By Alex Lemieux
ABC 11 Raleigh: House Overrides Magistrate Same-Sex Marriage Veto
Photo Courtesy of Sushiesque’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of Tony Webster’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License