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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 17 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 42
No marriage for you! North Carolina magistrate says Governor vows to uphold equality
Section One
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No marriage for you! North Carolina magistrate says Governor vows to uphold equality

by Mike Andrew SGN Staff Writer A magistrate in Pasquotank County, North Carolina has refused to marry a local Gay couple, The Pilot Newspaper reports.

At the same time, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has promised to uphold a federal court ruling that Gay and Lesbian couples have a right to marry in the state.

William Locklear and his partner Randell Jackson hoped to be married October 13, after U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. struck down North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriages on October 10.

However, when the couple turned up at Pasquotank County Courthouse, the magistrate turned them away.

'He said, 'I won't be performing your marriage because of my religious beliefs,' ' Locklear explained.

Locklear was not impressed by the official's excuse.

'He has to do his job,' Locklear said. 'He is not there to preach to us.'

Pasquotank County Clerk of Superior Court Connie Thornley agreed with him. Magistrates must marry Gay couples or risk losing their jobs, she said. 'They cannot refuse.'

While Locklear reportedly named the official who refused to marry him, The Pilot did not identify him, but said they could not reach him for comment.

North Carolina magistrates are nominated by county clerks of court, appointed by superior court judges, and supervised by chief district court judges, according to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.

Thornley said she was waiting for instructions from the state's Administrative Office of the Courts on any procedure change. Marriages should begin October 14, with other magistrates, she added.

'It has all happened so fast,' she said. 'All this has passed, and they didn't have things in place.'

'There's a lot of confusion,' Jackson confirmed. 'We just want to be married.'

Judge Cogburn's October 10 ruling came in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to hear appeals of lower court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage. One of the cases at issue originated in the Fourth Circuit Court, which also has jurisdiction over North Carolina, so the Supreme Court's action removed any legal obstacle to Cogburn ruling in the North Carolina case.

North Carolina's Governor, Pat McCrory fought same-sex marriage and supported the 2012 ballot measure outlawing it, but he vowed to uphold the federal court's decision.

'I think it's a time for healing on all sides,' he said. 'Now that the disagreement has been resolved in the courts, it's our job to live together and work together and play together and respect each other together.'

Pasquotank County is in the northeast corner of North Carolina, just across the Virginia border from Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

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