Raleigh, NC—In a vote today, the North Carolina legislature overrode Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of Senate Bill 2, a bill which gave government employees the right to refuse to perform marriage services for any couple as long as the employee cites a deeply held religious objection.
“This is yet another example of religion being used to excuse bigotry,” said National Legal and Public Policy Director Amanda Knief. “North Carolinians should expect and demand that state employees perform their duties for everyone. No exceptions. This is a sad day for the people of North Carolina and for anyone who values a government that treats all people with dignity and respect. The religious beliefs of state employees performing civil marriage services are irrelevant.”
North Carolina has recognized same-sex marriage since October 2014. The passage of SB-2 is just the latest example of so-called “religious freedom” bills being used to allow state employees, businesses, and others to discriminate against LGBT people and others on the basis of religious belief.
“This is shameful,” said American Atheists National Program Director Nick Fish. “Shirking your duties as a state employee and treating people like second class citizens has no place in North Carolina. This law is opening Pandora’s box.”
American Atheists Regional Director for North Carolina Sincere Kirabo added, “When so-called religious freedom blatantly discriminates against a certain segment of citizens, it is a direct restriction of freedom that also perpetuates stigma and inhibits egalitarianism. This exercise in bigoted legislation has no place in North Carolina.”
Keywords: American Atheists, separation of church and state, separation of religion and government, North Carolina, marriage equality, LGBT, McCrory