14 NC magistrates use recusal law focusing on gay marriage

In this photo taken March 22, 2015, the rings of Thomas Kostura and Ijpe DeKoe sit on a table in their Memphis, Tenn. apartment. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll in April, nearly half of Americans favor laws allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed in their own states, while just over a third are opposed. The poll was conducted just before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that will probably decide whether states can continue to bar same-sex couples from marrying. Kostura and deKoe were married in New York in 2011. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – About 2 percent of North Carolina’s magistrates have officially recused themselves from performing marriages since the legislature passed a law last month responding to gay marriages becoming legal in the state last October.

A state court system spokeswoman said late Tuesday that it had received notices through Monday from 14 magistrates citing a “sincerely held religious objection.” They are prohibited from performing civil marriages – for both straight and gay couples – for at least six months. There are more than 670 magistrates statewide.

The court system considers the magistrates’ names and their notices part of their personnel files and confidential.

The law took effect June 11 after the legislature overrode Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto. Some county registers of deeds workers also can recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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