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November 20, 2014 12:00 pm
NC Family president John Rustin talks with Kellie Fiedorek, litigation staff counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom’s marriage litigation team, about the escalating threat to religious liberty in North Carolina following the legalization of same-sex unions.
This is family policy matters program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family, and often the studio hears John Rushton, president of the North Carolina family policy Council, thank you for joining us this week. Profamily policy matters.
It is sure to have Kelly work with us on the show Kelly's litigation, staff counsel for the alliance. Defending freedom or ADF in its Washington DC office where she serves on the marriage litigation team will be talking today with Kelly about the escalating threat to religious liberty in North Carolina.
The federal court overturned our state marriage laws including our marriage protection amendment and ordered local officials to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples that we been hearing more and more reports of court officials, particularly magistrates and registers of deeds who are being forced to choose between their jobs and their faith. So we want to talk to Kelly about this and what individuals can do to protect their First Amendment right to live out their faith in the public square. Especially as it relates to marriage. Kelly, thanks much for being with us on the show today well with the group. It's a pleasure to have you back and we appreciate your time and just the wisdom that you have owned this issue in particular Kelly earlier this month, the North Carolina administrative office of the courts issued a guidance memo to magistrates across the state, which said that refusing to marry a same-sex couple for any reason is not only grounds for suspension or removal from office, but potentially criminal charges.
Is this advice accurate in your opinion, a very interesting time in North Carolina and across the country in the bottomlands that no one should have to choose between buying a content and being able To maintain maintain a God continue to make sure lively. Had I not commanded situation. It with the magistrate. I suggested they may have to contend with that North Carolina code of judicial conduct and with that, bring back a variety of potential issues that it seems that the judge work you, I think all marriages that should be able to assist them in not violating their conscience while still being able being able to continue their duty under the lot, North Carolina magistrate, they may solemnize that not a requirement that teams that that this could be taken on a case-by-case basis, but that there are ways for magistrates to continue to fill their their roles and obligations without having to violate our conscience as well also records and even before we have seen several magistrates nuclear guitar or step down after being threatened with the loss of their jobs for not performing the same-sex ceremonies and we've also heard reports of registers of deeds who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses in Carolina facing similar religious liberty throughout status ADF hearing from people of faith in other states where the courts have forced the redefinition of marriage on the people as they have done here in North Carolina. Here we we think it's 100 Washington state out of New York and in those cases, the court concluded that not doing a guide to officiate marriages that the judge chooses not to officiate at any merited women should be being LSU based on confident that the Maxi judges in North Carolina would be able to you East officiating and all marriages end. I then still be able to define the content that would highlight the conscience officiate at a same-sex ceremonies. For example, so I think that the threat to you to religious freedom has increased across the country, but that also cut down ways to tell everyone choose all the conscience and to get what they need in order To maintain everyone's best interest. You really exist at the tip of the spirit you all are engaged all over the country in legal battles over marriage and religious liberty, and are also really working to provide sound advice to elected officials appointed officials and others who are being confronted with these very challenging issues. I know that on October 16. ADF issued a legal memo to registers of deeds in North Carolina in response to this religious liberty throughout the ADF memo states that registers of deeds who object to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples are protected under the First Amendment of the specific protections for registers of deeds and their employees. North Carolina registers of deeds and sincere religious or moral beliefs prevent them from issuing certain types of marriage license how the ability to appointed deputy to perform that task. Under under state law will deeds should face conflict in content, they should simply get the client deputy with the full authority to perform the act that should evolve the situation and facilitate all parties and that at the end of the day know what you have to face the choice of filing a content or losing a job, there is a map way to ensure that everyone gets what they want and and live according to their beliefs. At the end of the day and both state and federal law pickax North Carolina registers the deed to be able to continue to work and to live according to their conscience. One of the baby of memo also points out that federal title VII requires employers including the government to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of their employees and according to the ADF memo title VII does apply to registers of deeds as it does to other government employees tell us about your beautiful, that's right registered tea. There are certainly not an exception to that will essentially tell parents how the players that I have a religious objection or have on something that is required of them on the job wherever possible.
Employers should reasonably accommodate employees and their faith. And this is very common sense, since the beginning of our country foundation on there have been noted hi conscientious objection to a wide array of various things and fill it again. In this context simply very very basic and foundational that when employees have hanging on to something about my conscience, I can't do it. Employer should should find the means any accommodation to allow the employee to continue to practice and live their lives according to their beliefs and find another way, almost always on. In this case for the registers they can, they can simply plant deputy to the marriage license considering your experience in another state had marriages of same-sex couples thrust upon them by the coaches again as we have in North Carolina. Are there other officials.
In addition to the magistrates in the registers of deeds that you have seen that have been confronted with this and potentially being forced to either violate their weekly held religious beliefs with respect to marriage want to have to perform some types of services that, in essence, will acknowledge grant some form of recognition to these marriages is a member of the legal memo that share those responsible in the various state had. I same-sex marriage imposed upon them by the court clerk of the court that it was possible for issuing marriage licenses in every state. We found that state law provides another avenue for the clerk to issue the marriage license. Whether that note assigning it deputy or even in some states you can't point a gyre during other government official IQ. If you license. Also, I think it's important for your listeners to know that basically what that includes North Carolina you don't have to be backing up North Carolina 15 year marriage license from the same county. The county in which you plan to follow my that the marriage for there a lot a lot of avenues that one could go down to you obtain a marriage license and habit solemnize their many many people authorized by state law to solemnize the marriage third Beltway to ensure that the speaking to Mary Tina life and get that marriage eyes without forcing someone to do something for snack clerk without forcing my trip to the pot violate their conscience at the end of the day talking about this a bigger picture perspective really occurs to me that the lack of tolerance that we are seeing from homosexual activist on this issue is really just moving. Unfortunately, it's not surprising, but in many cases we have seen these individuals argue on one hand, as they did in one of the lawsuit was brought in North Carolina not being able to marry same-sex couples violates their religious liberties and religious denominations and some religious leaders, but on the other hand, they are quick to attack and call for the resignation of magistrates and registers of deeds in good conscience cannot participate in same-sex ceremonies. Certainly seems like a double standard. What you think about Plano tolerance should be a two-way street that that's the way this country was started to work that way it should work.
I was interesting, as in every case that we litigated defending people of faith people content could have been have been targeted nothing on tried to be coerced to pilot the content couple and in all the situation always able to find what they want, whether it's to find the floor after define photographer or find someone on my that marriage that they always have a line yet, even after eight a fine person they come after and try to coworkers those who have a different point of view to follow on their agenda and I'm really in a day. We should be out be free to live according to our beliefs free to live according to our content without the government coming coming crying coercing violate so we'll highlight the pending speed fan committed to defending people to defending their right to follow their faith, father conscience, and to live freely so that we truly do live in a country where time is a two-way street becoming more important than records legalized same-sex here the nuclear family policy Council already has begun to receive calls from Christian business owners who are being confronted Bob same-sex couples similar to the ones which you mention the force the bakers bed-and-breakfast owners and others who typically have businesses that are related to the wedding marriage industry considering what has taken place in our nation and in the state of North Carolina, encouragement or advice can you give to these business people and citizens across the state who are really, really concerned about what's happening in looking down the road with the expectation that would be seeing more of these types of confrontations to point I would encourage folks to get to McCall. We exist to disturb you and then you and to ensure that your vehicle right to operate according to face are protected, whether it working with your your church or your ministry, your business, there is no way to ensure before the fact that that you haven't as many protection templates for your business for your school for your ministry so that it it will be as strong as possible, should it should, it face on the attacker ship course of action by the government trying to force you to participate in something or facilitate event violate your conscience and secondly I would bait to help. Do not be discouraged.
These are difficult times and dark times that we we know at the end of the day with one battle already, and we have hope in Christ, and we know that we think the truth will have the courage to do the right thing. We will be successful, I thought only cause us to be faithful and that is the call to work with because it took to answer completely agree with you know Achilles is listeners as individuals and business owners as churches and pastors across the state have concerns and/or confronted with these challenging issues. How can I get in touch with you. All video website is alliance defending freedom.org contact at one 800 how ADF we have a great team, 80 asset received a call knows how to tell her for the issue into that right legal team here well and I can see firsthand the incredible job of the Kelly Fedora going. Thank you so much for being loose on family policy matters for your great work that aligns the freedom family policy matters is information and analysis, family policy Council discussion on policy issues affecting the family. If you have questions or comments. 919708 visit our website