North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has vetoed a religious exemption bill that would allow some court officials to avoid gay marriage duties.
The Republican governor announced his decision Thursday – hours after lawmakers gave their final approval to the measure. His office says he vetoed it shortly after the announcement. The legislature must decide whether to override that veto.
The bill gives magistrates and some register of deeds workers the ability to avoid duties for all marriages if they have a “sincerely held religious objection.”
McCrory said in a statement:
“I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself, opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I vetoed Senate Bill 2.”
McCrory says he believes public officials who swear to support and defend the Constitution and to carry out their duties shouldn’t be exempt from upholding their oath.
The House and Senate both have passed the bill by margins above the threshold needed to override a veto.