Federal Appeals Court Rejects Challenge to Religious Freedom Law


The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday became the second federal court to dismiss a lawsuit against a North Carolina law that protects the First Amendment religious freedom rights of magistrates and register of deeds employees while complying with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage.

“Once again, a federal court has rejected the idea that exercising one’s First Amendment religious freedoms somehow infringes on others’ rights – which was made clear when the plaintiffs couldn’t find even one North Carolinian who was unable to get married under this law,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), who sponsored the bill.

The law preserves the ability of everyone who is legally eligible to get married, but makes clear that magistrates and registers of deeds’ employees with religious objections have the right to recuse themselves from performing all marriage ceremonies – without fear of losing their jobs or facing criminal prosecution.