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Law Allowing Magistrates to Refuse to Marry Same-Sex Couples Survives Court Challenge – on a Technicality



‘The Outcome Here Is in No Way a Comment on Same-Sex Marriage’

A federal appeals court has dismissed a case brought by three couples who argued North Carolina’s law allowing magistrates to cite a “sincerely held religious objection” in refusing to perform weddings for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case on a technicality rather than on the merits, ruling the three couples did not have sufficient standing to contest the law, as they were not personally harmed by it.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote that “the plaintiffs, all of whom are either married or engaged, do not claim that the state has impeded their right to get married. Instead, they challenge the religious exemption as taxpayers who object to the alleged spending of public funds in aid of religion.”

Judge Harvie, a Reagan appointee, also wrote: 

“The outcome here is in no way a comment on same-sex marriage as a matter of social policy. The case before us is far more technical—whether plaintiffs, simply by virtue of their status as state taxpayers, have alleged a personal, particularized injury for the purposes of Article III standing. Based on a century of Supreme Court precedent, we conclude that they have not.”

The law, known as SB 2, was drafted and passed ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling that, as lawmakers expected, found same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. 

“The 2015 law allows magistrates to recuse themselves from performing marriages ‘based on any sincerely held religious objections.’ Those who file such notices are prevented from officiating at all marriages – gay and heterosexual – for at least six months,” WRAL reports.

The law also allows staffers in county register of deeds offices to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses, but it requires counties to make other magistrates or staffers available to handle marriage licenses and same-sex weddings in the event of recusals.

Utah and Mississippi also have laws allowing public officials to recuse themselves from performing marriages because of religious beliefs, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The couples filed the lawsuit at the end of 2015.

“SB2 is unjust and distorts the true meaning of religious freedom,” Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality said in a statement. “From day one, it’s been clear that SB2 is about one thing – finding a new way to discriminate against same-sex couples and privileging one set of religious beliefs over others. We will keep standing up to discrimination until LGBTQ North Carolinians are equal in every sphere of life.”

As of July, 2015, 14 magistrates had taken advantage of the law, and all magistrates in one North Carolina county had availed themselves of the law, requiring the magistrates from other counties to help out.

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Image via Southern Equality/Twitter

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Trump Is ‘Untethered to Reality’ and His Thanksgiving Rant Proves It: CNN’s Berman



CNN host John Berman on Friday lit into President Donald Trump for going on an unhinged Thanksgiving rant about the 2020 election in which he once again falsely claimed that he won.

Berman in particular zeroed in on Trump’s seething anger at Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who asked the president on Thursday if he’d concede that he lost the election.

“He was yelling at Jeff Mason, who is the most mild-mannered reporter in America, who was asking one of the most obvious questions in America, which is, ‘Will you concede the race that you lost?’” Berman said. “I think it gave a window into where the president is this morning and how untethered to reality he may be.”

Guest Ron Brownstein shared Berman’s assessment and talked about the harm it’s doing to the United States.

“[He’s] doing real damage,” Brownstein said. “You’ve seen the polling: Three-quarters of Republicans now believe the election was stolen. We’ve never seen anything like this, an effort by a president to systemically undermine the results of the election.”

Watch the video below.


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Trump Serves Up Paranoid Election Conspiracy Rant for Thanksgiving: ‘Flick of a Switch Can Change Course of History’



President Donald Trump on Thanksgiving broke weeks of refusing to answer questions from reporters, and focusing his anger on Georgia called its Republican Secretary of State “an enemy of the people” while brewing up an insane new conspiracy theory.

After praising GOP Senators in two run-off elections fighting to keep their seats, Trump said he told Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, “you have a fraudulent system.”

“You have a system where the flick of a switch or the putting in of a new chip can change the course of history.”

He also falsely claimed voting rights advocate and former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams had illegally “harvested” 850,000 ballots. In reality, Abrams says 750,000 Georgia voters have requested absentee ballots.

Watch (poor quality video):

Earlier –
‘No I Can’t Say That’: Trump Says He Will Not Concede – but Will Exit White House if Electoral College Makes ‘Mistake’


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‘No I Can’t Say That’: Trump Says He Will Not Concede – but Will Exit White House if Electoral College Makes ‘Mistake’



President Donald Trump used the occasion of Thanksgiving, weeks after Election Day, to declare he will not concede.

Speaking to reporters after calling troops overseas – at 1:16 AM their time, several hours later than scheduled – the President was asked if he will finally concede.

“No I can’t say that at all,” Trump replied, the first time he’s taken questions from reporters in weeks.

President-elect Joe Biden has 306 Electoral College votes, against Trump’s 232.

He also said the Electoral College members will have made a “mistake” if they do not declare him the winner of the 2020 presidential election, as Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reports.

But he also said he would leave the White House if Biden is the official winner. (Trump frequently denies making remarks he has made.)

Trump, however, is not planning on believing the results.

“I don’t know what is going to happen. I know one thing, Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes,” he added.


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