North Carolina magistrates resign over gay marriage rulings

GayMarriageNorthCarolina 0deb9 450x321 North Carolina magistrates resign over gay marriage rulings

When a federal judge cleared the legal path for same-sex marriage in North Carolina earlier this month, it set off a flurry of weddings and celebrations, mostly in urban areas of the state.

The scene outside the Mecklenburg County’s Register of Deeds office as Joey Hewell and Scott Lindsley embrace after being married Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in Charlotte, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer, Davie Hinshaw/Associated Press)

But the joy was hardly unanimous, including among some public officials whose jobs include performing marriages.

At least six magistrates have quit or announced their resignations since same-sex marriages became legal Oct. 10, and they were directed to begin performing such marriages, the Observer found.

Some left 20-year jobs that paid more than $50,000. Their decisions, they said, were based on religious beliefs.

“When you have convictions about something, you’ve drawn your line in the sand,” said Gayle Myrick, 64, a former Union County magistrate. “It (marrying gay couples) was not a consideration to me at any cost.”

Myrick joined magistrates in Gaston, Swain, Graham, Jackson and Rockingham counties who resigned – or announced plans to quit – because of the change in the marriage law. It’s unclear how many other magistrates have similar intentions.

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