Perhaps because he already knows that Speaker of the NC House Tim Moore will make sure that the House will uphold his veto, Governor McCrory announced earlier this afternoon that he will in fact veto the "magistrate opt-out" law just passed by both houses of the NC General Assembly which would allow magistrates and Register of Deeds employees to refuse to marry same-sex couples.
The measure did pass the House but with only a 67-43 majority, not enough to overturn McCrory's promised veto.
McCrory's 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."
That's solid legal ground for a veto of legislation that was clearly intended to discriminate against one class of citizens, just as the now overturned Amendment One did.
Oh, there was great parading of pharisaical holiness yesterday as the NC House debated the bill. One of the holiest members of the House, Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, said the measure protects government officials from being forced to be "traitors against the kingdom of God" by taking part in same-sex marriage, which he described as "perverted and morally unconscionable."
"God created and defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and no country and no government, no court, no government entity, I believe, has the right to change it or to coerce anyone to disobey God in regard to it," Pittman said. "We need to stop worrying about what other nations or corporations think of us or where we stand and what our reputation is with them, and get back to caring what our reputation is in the sight of God."
One of the Republican talking points was that a "magistrate opt-out" law was analogous to conscientious objection status for soldiers. Democratic Rep. Grier Martin countered that "to qualify as a conscientious objector, a person must object to all warfare, not to a particular conflict, and that must be determined through an in-depth investigation by military officers."
"You do not get to pick and choose who you serve, you do not get to pick and choose your wars, and we should not allow our magistrates to pick and choose which citizens they are and are not going to marry," he said. "That magistrate's salary is being paid by all North Carolinians equally."
Said Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, "We’re creating a situation where people can discriminate against other members of our society at their discretion and not be disciplined. Certain people have full rights that they vote for and pay for, and other people don’t have those same full rights to treatment on an equal basis."
Haven't gotten a list of those Republicans in the House who voted against this travesty, but they need to be recognized for statesmanship.