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All McDowell County Magistrates Recuse From Marriages

The Opt-Outs by the Four Officials are Legal Under North Carolina’s Senate Bill 2

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonah Hermann, Equality NC, (920) 860-1416 -or-


MARION, N.C. — Equality NC, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, responded today to the breaking news that all four magistrates in McDowell County have recused themselves from offering marriage licenses.

On June 11th, 2015, The North Carolina House voted to override Governor Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2, the controversial magistrates recusal bill.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said “The news out of Marion is unconscionable, however sadly not surprising. The intent of Senate Bill 2 has always been clear -- to allow for legal discrimination to occur under North Carolina Law. Equality NC extends our apologies to any loving couples in McDowell County, and across the Old North State, that have had trouble seeking and securing marriage licenses. Equality NC is looking into the constitutionality of this legislation and its impacts.”

It has been reported that magistrates from Rutherford County have been commuting to McDowell county to comply with the law.

Sgro added, “The fact that we are having to ship magistrates from county to county to comply with this bill is simply unacceptable. This is only costing taxpayers more money and placing additional burdens on Magistrate offices. We warned Senator Berger and the Legislature about the unintended consequences of Senate Bill 2. A few short weeks after becoming law, the people of The Tar Heel State are suffering these consequences.”

Since Senate Bill 2 became law, the number of magistrates that have recused themselves has more than doubled, from 15 to 32. Equality NC is asking any couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, that is having trouble seeking a marriage license to contact them at (919) 829-0343 ext. 114.

ABOUT EQUALITY NC: Equality NC is a statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians. For more information, please visit w​

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