Couple file appeal over North Carolina gay-marriage law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Three couples want an appeals court to revive their challenge to a North Carolina law allowing magistrates with religious objections to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

The appeal filed Monday with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond says a lower court erred by dismissing the challenge in September.

A judge ruled then that two gay couples and an interracial couple lacked standing to sue and lacked evidence they were harmed by the law that took effect in 2015.

Only a fraction of North Carolina’s magistrates have filed recusal notices. The notices prevent them from officiating at all marriages — gay and heterosexual — for at least six months.

The law also allows some court clerks to decline to issue marriage licenses because of “any sincerely held religious objection.”