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Oct 21, 2014

Equality NC Responds to N.C. Senate Leader's Announced Anti-LGBT Legislation

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 21, 2014) -- In a statement released by Equality NC, the state's leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, executive director Chris Sgro responded today to an announcement made by Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) that he intends to introduce legislation allowing magistrates and registers of deeds in North Carolina to bypass current marriage laws under the guise of "religious freedom."

Sen. Phil Berger (file photo)

Equality NC's Executive Director Chris Sgro called Berger's efforts "futile" and this type of proposal "an unprecedented overreach" that in other states has been "flatly rejected by the community, business leaders, and fair-minded members of both parties."

"According to Gov. Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, two federal judges, and the laws these types of civil servants swear to uphold statewide, it is unlawful for registers of deeds in North Carolina to refuse to marry same-sex couples for any reason. Hastily-proposed legislation from Senator Phil Berger will not supersede these directives," said Sgro. "Through this futile effort to raise legislative questions to clear federal legal precedent, Sen. Berger continues to waste taxpayer dollars and ignore the real issues of the day, like our economy, education, and the environment."

Sgro added, "The issue at hand is not about individuals' rights to freedom of religion and Berger, as an attorney, should understand the law well enough to know that. The issue at hand is a matter of employees of the state of North Carolina doing their jobs.

The measure proposed by Berger and his extreme, anti-LGBT special interests thereby represents an unprecedented overreach that encourages state employees to only follow the laws that they support and is akin to purported religious freedom legislation summarily vetoed by the Republican governor of Arizona. In even more states, similar legislation has been proposed and failed, flatly rejected by the community, business leaders, and fair-minded members of both parties. Equality NC and our allies stand ready to fight this at every level of government and inside the General Assembly."

ABOUT EQUALITY NC: Equality NC is the statewide organization working to secure equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender North Carolinians.

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