Official who quit over gay weddings gets $300,000 payout
An official who resigned over their refusal to oversee same-sex weddings has been handed a massive settlement by North Carolina.
Gayle Myrick has served as a magistrate in Union County, North Carolina, but resigned from the role in 2014 when equal marriage came to the state.
State court officials had directed local magistrates to comply with rulings and allow gay couples to marry, but Myrick warned that she would have to resign if not given a “concession” – changing the work schedule to allow her to avoid the time of day when weddings were performed.
As no such shift in hours could be made, her resignation was offered and accepted.
But the state has now paid out a massive settlement to the former official, after she won a religious discrimination complaint via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
North Carolina has agreed to pay a total of $300,000 to settle the case.
The settlement, approved last month, includes about $210,000 in lost pay and retirement benefits, in addition to attorneys’ fees.
Gayle Myrick said: “When same-sex marriage became legal, I knew because of my religious convictions I would not be able to perform the ceremonies.”
She added she had sought a “change my schedule so that I did not do any wedding ceremonies at all… to allow everyone to get married without any inconvenience or embarrassment.”
She added: “I have always wanted to find a way to protect everyone’s dignity.
“The solution in my case would allow any couple to get lawfully married without facing rejection or delay, and magistrates with religious beliefs like me could step aside and still keep our jobs.”
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Stephanie Barclay, counsel at conservative law firm Becket, told CBN: “Now, states know that if the state does not find reasonable solutions, they may have to have settlements.”
In a release, Barclay said: “Faith and sexual orientation are deeply important to the identity of many people, and this case shows that these two things don’t have to be at odds with each other.
“Our civil rights laws help us create a diverse society where people can live, work, and break bread together despite our differences.”
North Carolina Republicans have since passed a law in the state that allows magistrates to legally ‘opt out’ of same-sex weddings.