US: Six magistrates choose to quit their jobs, blame same-sex marriage
A total of six magistrates in North Carolina have chosen to quit their jobs since same-sex marriage came into law.
John Kallam Jr, who served as a magistrate in Rockingham County, resigned last month when equal marriage became law in the state, claiming allowing gays to marry “would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself”.
He has since been joined by five other departing magistrates – Gilbert Breedlove of Swain County, Tommy Holland of Graham County, Gayle Myrick of Union County, Jeff Powell of Jackson County, and Bill Stevenson of Gaston.
North Carolina has 660 magistrates in total.
Mr Holland told the Christian Examiner: “When the federal judges ruled that gay marriage was legal and North Carolina honours that, and part of a magistrate’s job is to perform marriage ceremonies, I knew I couldn’t honour that law.
“It’s against my belief. It’s against what the Bible says … I was raised a Southern Baptist. God has always taken care of me.”
Stevenson told WCNC: “It was something I had to do out of conscience.
“I felt like to perform same-sex unions would be in violation of the Lord’s commands, so I couldn’t do that.”
Anti-gay groups have since seized on the autonomous decision of the six to voluntarily leave their jobs as ‘proof’ that gay marriage is ‘forcing’ people out of work.
Rick McDermott of Equality NC said: “While we understand people have their own religious beliefs, we don’t think this is about religious discrimination. It’s really more so about the magistrates doing their job and following the law.”
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