The Associated Press reports:
Roughly 5 percent of North Carolina’s magistrates are refusing to marry same-sex couples for religious reasons, and lawyers for the state say people suing in federal court have no standing to challenge these opt-outs as unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn scheduled a hearing for Monday in Asheville in part to consider a motion by the state to dismiss their lawsuit altogether. Separately, Republican legislative leaders and some magistrates also want to be added as defendants as the case, saying they don’t trust Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper to defend the state law.
Three couples — two lesbian and one heterosexual — say taxpayer dollars are being spent to implement the 2015 opt-out law that treats them as second-class citizens and favors one set of religious views over another.
“It allows judicial officers to opt out of upholding the constitution,” said Jake Sussman, one of their attorneys. “We don’t believe that the law appropriately balanced issues of religious liberty and these constitutional obligations.”
The Liberty Counsel has petitioned to join the defense on behalf of an anti-gay magistrate. (Tipped by JMG reader Rob)