Court To Hear Appeal On N.C. Law Protecting Magistrates

May 10, 2017

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case over whether local magistrates can refuse to marry gay couples on religious grounds. Three couples had challenged SB2, a 2015 state law passed to protect magistrates after gay marriage became legal. 

A lower court judge in Asheville dismissed the suit last year on grounds that the couples who sued lacked standing as taxpayers and failed to show they were harmed directly by the law.  The couples appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., where the case will be heard today.  

At the time the couples filed their suit last year, about 5 percent of North Carolina's magistrates had asked to be excused from performing gay marriages.

RELATED LINKS, "Hearing at Fourth Circuit Set for SB2 Lawsuit, North Carolina's 'Magistrate Recusal' Law."

Ansley v. Warren documents on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals website