Shortly after a federal judge struck down North Carolina’s ban on gay marriage last year, several magistrates resigned from their positions rather than perform same-sex weddings. Now, a state legislator has introduced a bill that would allow government officials to refuse to preside over such weddings or issue marriage licenses to gay couples based on “sincerely held religious objection” while retaining their jobs.
Gordon Klingenschmitt, not surprisingly, wholeheartedly supports this sort of legislation, saying on his “Pray In Jesus Name” program yesterday that requiring conservative Christians who work in government positions to follow the law when it comes to gay marriage is “the yoke of slavery.”
As our colleague Peter Montgomery explained in a report just released yesterday, Religious Right activists are increasingly claiming that “religious liberty” ought to entitle them to engage in anti-gay discrimination, and that is exactly what Klingenschmitt is arguing.
As Klingenschmitt sees it, government workers should have the right to able to opt out of having to “participate in somebody else’s sin” if they are a Christian, asserting that failure to grant such an exemption is a violation of the Constitution’s ban on requiring a religious test to hold public office.
“We do pray against this demonic yoke of slavery,” Klingenschmitt said, “which is being forced by some liberal judges upon the good people of North Carolina … Father I pray that you would enable each individual person in North Carolina, whether they are a private or public servant, that they would retain their right of conscience, they would not be forced and compelled by the government to participate in somebody else’s sin if it violates their religious views. God, give us religious freedom, especially for those now being compelled by the government to sin”: