Caroline du Nord : Quand des juges démissionnent de leur fonction pour ne pas avoir à «marier des homosexuels»

Caroline du Nord : Quand des juges démissionnent de leur fonction pour ne pas avoir à «marier des homosexuels»

>> North Carolina Magistrates Are Quitting Rather Than Marry Loving Same-Sex Couples

Depuis la décision de la Cour suprême d’annuler l’interdiction des mariages gays dans plusieurs États américains, d’irréductibles magistrats refusent de s’acquitter de leurs obligations, suggérant qu’il s’agit là d’une «intention discriminatoire, contraire à la Constitution, de la part de l’État ou d’autres, d’exiger que les fonctionnaires violent leur liberté de conscience».

Les premiers jours, les couples se sont accommodés aux humeurs de chacun, revenant même le lendemain pour pouvoir faire enregistrer leur union auprès d’un magistrat différent. Mais si les juges récalcitrants n’ont pas encore été sanctionnés, certains ont déjà donné leur démission :

«Lorsque j’ai fait mon serment, je savais que je serais amené à célébrer des mariages, ce que j’ai fait durant tout mon mandat. Cependant, avec toute ma compréhension, je ne savais pas que je serais tenu de célébrer des mariages de personnes de même sexe» a exprimé l’ancien magistrat de Rockingham County, également pasteur, avant de présenter sa démission le 16 octobre dernier.
John Kallam, Jr. ne souhaitait pas contribuer à «La destruction de cette institution sacrée établie par Dieu lui-même !»
«Le mariage, c’est l’union d’un homme et de sa femme, et toute autre activité sexuelle ne serait que pure fornication et péché de la chair !»

Même version pour le juge Gilbert Breedlove, du comté de Swain County, qui après vingt-quatre années de services a donné sa démission. Il refusait d’aller à l’encontre de ses convictions chrétiennes en célébrant «un mariage contraire à sa foi».

Pour Chris Sgro, directeur exécutif de l’organisation « Egalité NC » qui lutte pour les droits des personnes LGBT en Caroline du Nord, «les sénateurs gaspillent l’argent des contribuables… ignorent les vrais problèmes… et démotivent les employés de l’État de Caroline du Nord à faire leur travail « .

Mais sinon, avec sept Etats de plus (Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginie, Wisconsin et Utah), c’est donc dans 26 Etats, plus la capitale fédérale Washington, que le gouvernement fédéral versera ses subsides aux couples gays légalement mariés.

Terrence Katchadourian
@stop_homophobie

>> Since marriage equality’s arrival in North Carolina this month, at least two magistrates have resigned from their roles in the state judicial system to avoid having to officiate marriages for same-sex couples. This week, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) said he will introduce legislation that allows officiants to refuse to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs.

According to Berger, who is continuing to fight the marriage equality ruling with House Speaker and Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R), “The court’s expansion of the freedoms of some should not violate the well-recognized constitutional rights of others.” He doesn’t believe complying with marriage equality should “require our state employees to compromise their core religious beliefs and First Amendment rights in order to protect their livelihoods.”

In his resignation letter, Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam, Jr. said that he believes marrying same-sex couples “would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself.” Swain County Magistrate Judge Gilbert Breedlove said that he resigned because performing a same-sex marriage “was just something I couldn’t do because of my religious beliefs.” According to his reading of the Bible, “marriage is between a man and a wife; any other type of sexual activity other than that is what is defined as fornication.”

Swain County Magistrate Judge Gilbert Breedlove also resigned Monday because of his personal objection to same-sex marriage.
« It was my only option, » said Breedlove, 57. « We were directed we had to perform the marriages, and that was just something I couldn’t do because of my religious beliefs. »

Breedlove has been a magistrate for nearly 24 years. He started in 1990 and became ordained as a pastor in 1997.

« I was Christian when I started, » said Breedlove. « Then, the law didn’t require me to perform something that was against my religious belief. Now that law has changed its requirements. »

The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts has warned magistrates that their oath of office requires them to fulfill their duties for any couple with a valid marriage license. Alamance County Chief District Court Judge Jim Robertson similarly instructed all magistrates in the county to perform all valid marriages.

In the first days after the marriage equality ruling, a Pasquotank magistrate refused to perform a same-sex marriage earlier this month, but so far has not yet been disciplined. The couple returned the following day and were married by a different magistrate.

Berger is not the only one who believes taxpayer-funded magistrates should be free to discriminate. The North Carolina Values Coalition, which helped pass Amendment One banning the recognition of same-sex unions in the state’s Constitution, is also encouraging magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples. The coalition references a letter from the anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom, which asserts that if the state does not accommodate magistrates unwilling to perform their duties, it “suggests an unconstitutional, discriminatory intent on the part of the state or others demanding that the official violate their conscience.”

The Associated Press notes that in 1977, a similar conflict arose when two Forsyth County magistrates refused to marry a black man and white woman.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, responded that “Sen. Berger continues to waste taxpayer dollars and ignore the real issues of the day” when what’s really at stake is simply “employees of the State of North Carolina doing their jobs.”