Thursday, October 16, 2014

NC Christians Lose Jobs: Refuse Same-sex 'Wedding'

Days ago, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn overturned the will of North Carolina voters by instituting "gay marriage" in the state.  Immediately two men showed up in Pasquotank County to be "married," but magistrate Gary Littleton refused to perform the ceremony based on his religious conscience.  As a result, Littleton will no longer be a magistrate because of, it is said, year-old charges against him for fighting at a youth football game — charges that were dismissed after an investigation.

UPDATE 6/12/15: N.C. Legislature Enacts Law Protecting Magistrates, Defeats Gay Agenda

UPDATE 4/13/15: Two Magistrates Sue North Carolina over Religious Conscience (see article excerpts below)

UPDATE 10/19/14: Idaho Pastors Face Fines, Jail for Refusing 'Gay Wedding'

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

New York Christian Farmers Guilty & Fined over 'Gay Wedding'

Homosexualists Force Pro-marriage Internet CEO Resignation

Iowa Christian Newspaper Editor, Fired over Gay Agenda Critique

Christian Sports Commentator Fired for Supporting Natural Marriage

D.C. University Suspends Christian for Defending Marriage

California University Fires Scientist for Being Christian

California City Official Yanked: Caught Reading Bible

-- From "NC magistrates directed to marry gay couples" by Michael Biesecker, Associated Press 10/15/14

Pamela Weaver Best, general counsel for the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, sent a letter to state magistrates saying they would be violating their oaths of office if they refused to marry gay or lesbian couples.

Best said magistrates who refuse to marry gay couples face suspension or dismissal. They could also face misdemeanor criminal charges for failing to discharge their duties.

Magistrates are state employees, but are directly supervised by the chief district court judges in the county where they are appointed.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Magistrate who refused gay marriage to leave" by Jeff Hampton, The Virginian-Pilot 10/16/14

Gary Littleton, 56, was charged with assault and communicating threats a year ago in Camden County. The charges were dismissed after an inquiry by the State Bureau of Investigation.

Chief District Judge Christopher Bean said Littleton will not be reappointed based on the charges because court officials are held to a higher standard.

There are no plans to dismiss Littleton immediately over his refusal to marry Randall Jackson and William Locklear on Monday. No complaints had been filed against Littleton as of late Wednesday, Bean said.

Littleton has been a magistrate since 2003. Magistrates are typically appointed to four-year terms with a starting annual salary of $33,000, according to the North Carolina General Assembly website. Littleton earns about $45,000 annually based on the pay scale.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Alamance County same-sex couple weds after 32 years" by Michael D. Abernethy, The Times-News (Burlington, NC) 10/13/14

After voters passed Amendment One in 2012 — altering the state’s constitution to make opposite-sex marriage the only legally recognized union — [but Friday] a federal judge in Asheville ruled the state’s ban unconstitutional. . . .

[Alamance County Register of Deeds Hugh] Webster said “about half” of his employees stated they are uncomfortable filling out and accepting marriage licenses for same-sex couples . . .

Chief District Court Judge Jim Roberson said he addressed the magistrates’ concerns Monday. Alamance County has 11 magistrates

“As a team, we’re going to abide by the law,” Roberson said. “Some of our magistrates have concerns based on their faiths and religious beliefs. I completely respect that. Other magistrates do not.”

He said magistrates who are comfortable officiating same-sex ceremonies will be made available to perform those ceremonies if those already working aren’t comfortable with it.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pasquotank magistrate refused to perform same-sex marriage" by Erin Kelly, WAVY-TV10 (Portsmouth, VA) 10/14/14

“My understanding is that a couple came and asked to be married and he refused to marry them based upon his, I guess, religious or moral principles,” [Judge] Bean said. ” … I suppose that it can be construed that he broke the law because that is a duty that the magistrate has, to perform marriages. I think, though, you have to temper that a little bit with the confusion and the quickness of all of this.”

Bean said Littleton could possibly be removed from his position if someone files a formal complaint and a judge makes that decision.

Another magistrate, Leonardo Custis, said he later married the two men who were first turned away on Tuesday morning.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "NC couple wed after initial denial by magistrate" by The Associated Press 10/15/14

Pasquotank County Magistrate Gary Littleton refused Monday to marry Williams Locklear and Randall Jackson.

Littleton cited his religious views that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

[Judge] Bean said the court system has only one potential punishment for magistrates who violate the state’s code of judicial conduct: removal from office.

Jackson said that he and Locklear do not plan to file [a complaint]. “I think Mr. Littleton has learned a valuable lesson,” and should not refuse to wed gay couples moving forward.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 4/13/15: From "Judges Say Gay Marriage Forced Them Out" by Denise McAllister, Courthouse News Service

Two former magistrates sued the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts claiming it violated their religious rights by forcing them to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies or face discipline, termination, and even criminal prosecution.

Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland claim in a lawsuit filed in the Wake County Superior Court that they resigned from their positions after the AOC and its director, John Smith, made no attempt to accommodate their religious beliefs while attempting to comply with the change in law on same-sex marriage.

Instead, they say, the AOC forced them to choose between "taking an act that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs or being criminally prosecuted."

Faced with these options, Breedlove and Holland resigned "under duress." They are now asking the court to reinstate them to their jobs.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.