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Lawsuit: Christian judges told to perform gay weddings or face criminal prosecution

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By Joe Newby

Earlier this month, Courthouse News reported that two former North Carolina magistrates filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court alleging they were given a choice to either perform same-sex wedding ceremonies or face discipline, termination, and even criminal prosecution.

According to the lawsuit, Gilbert Breedlove and Thomas Holland chose to resign “under duress” rather than participate in something that went against their Christian beliefs.

They further allege that John Smith, director of the state Administrative Office of the Courts, refused to accommodate their religious beliefs while attempting to comply with the change in law on same-sex marriage.

Last year, same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina after a federal judge unilaterally overturned state law defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.  North Carolina is one of many states where gay marriage has been imposed by the judiciary, in some cases, overturning the will of the people.

“In doing so,” the Charlotte Observer said, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn of Asheville, “erased Amendment One, the country’s last voter-approved, constitutional marriage ban, and a cultural, spiritual and political lightning rod in North Carolina.”

Following that ruling, the AOC said that, “[m]agistrates should begin immediately conducting marriages of all couples presenting a marriage license issued by the Register of Deeds.”

“A failure to do so would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution under the federal ruling,” Smith added, “and would constitute a violation of the oath and a failure to perform a duty of the office. For these reasons, all magistrates must treat same-sex marriages for which a marriage license has been issued by the Register of Deeds the same way that marriages between a man and a woman are scheduled and conducted.”

“Smith said that if a magistrate refuses to perform same-sex marriages, then he or she could be suspended, removed from office, and potentially face criminal charges,” Courthouse News added. “Smith said the reason for the magistrate’s removal didn’t matter. In other words, there were no exemptions offered in the AOC’s policy for a magistrate to avoid participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony for any reason, religious or otherwise, the lawsuit says.”

In late 2014, Smith told N.C. Senator Phil Berger the AOC, “would not accommodate any magistrate who felt compelled to refuse to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony for religious reasons and that any magistrate who attempted to avoid participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony could face civil liability.”

But there’s only one small glitch. North Carolina’s Constitution says that, “all persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.”  Moreover, it says that, “[n]o person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to discrimination by the State because of race, color, religion, or national origin.” (Emphasis added)

But as we noted here, gay rights and gay marriage have managed to trump thousands of years of human jurisprudence. Constitutional protections for religious people no longer matter in cases involving gays.

Both men have served on the bench for over 20 years and now want the state to uphold the Constitution.

Their faith, Courthouse News added, is based on a “foundational belief that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman.” Therefore, according to the complaint, they “cannot participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony because doing so would force them to act in contravention of their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The AOC, they said, “made no effort to attempt to offer some alternative that would address Plaintiffs’ request.”

“Defendants have an obligation to perform their duties in a manner consistent with the North Carolina Constitution including not interfering with Plaintiffs’ rights protected by Article I, Section 13 and not discriminating against Plaintiffs on the basis of religion as prohibited by Article I, Section 19,” the complaint adds.

Both men say they were forced to resign and seek a declaration that the defendants’ direction and policy discriminated against them and violated Article I, Sections 13 and 19 of the North Carolina Constitution.

This is only one skirmish in what a growing number of people are calling a “war” on Christianity.

Last October, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two Christian ministers who have owned and operated the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for 25 years, faced the very real possibility of arrest and jail for refusing to perform gay weddings. Further investigation, however, revealed the chapel had filed as a religious corporation, making it exempt from the anti-discrimination ordinance.

Earlier this month, WND published what it calls a “big list” of “’same-sex marriage’ entrapments,” that includes the North Carolina case along with many others.

For some time, the pro-gay left has employed tactics straight out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a book dedicated, ironically, to Lucifer, in a propaganda campaign that would make Josef Goebbels smile. As a result, Americans are beginning to reconsider the concept of religious freedom, something former President Bill Clinton called “the most precious of all American liberties.”

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  1. “Christian judges”? How would the writer feel about “Muslim judges” trying to impose their religious beliefs? As an agent of the state, these judges’ religious views are irrelevant. Here’s a simple solution: leave civil law and become a minister. This country is not (yet) a theocracy.

    • And if those like you have your way it will also cease to be a Republic, or, possibly, a nation at all.

    • Thank you! Good Lord, I marvel at the hypocrisy of those who consider conservative Christian beliefs to be self-evidently correct but who may harbor ardent Islamophobia and talk about the threat of sharia law.

      • My upcoming book based on logic and reasoning will prove Islam is a false religion. Not because of my desire, but because God said so. Good day! We all should despise wrong or evil

        • I can assure you I won’t be reading your upcoming book. “False religion” — pshaw! this seems like a time to beg God to protect us from his/her/its followers.

    • There is a time coming in the future where the whole world will be a theocracy. The very near future. A new civilization where the Lord Jesus will rule the world.

      • God already rules this world. What bible are you reading??

        • Not true. My upcoming book proves this very point. Is God impeding wrongs that happen in the world? No, God’s reign will be a period when the lion and the lamb can lie down together, and mankind if he breaks the laws of God will suffer immediate judgment of death. It will last 1,000 years. Good day

          • So, let me get this straight, God is not in control of our world? Huh. Then, who is? Are not all things under His command? Is not our very breath due to His mercy? Are you saying that God is just letting things down here go to “hell in a handbasket” as my father used to say? God has quit His job? Didn’t Jesus send the Holy Spirit when He left? If God is not in control, what is the work of the Holy Spirit? If the HS is indeed at work in our lives and in our world, as I believe, then how can you say that God is not in control?

          • There is a great difference between ruling earth and helping in some limited issues. The Holy Spirit is solely to prod the souls of men to salvation. Please don’t use initials for God.

          • I’m sorry, I meant no disrespect to either you or God.

  2. In my opinion, the judge’s “inalienable right to worship Almighty God” was not infringed upon in any way. He may still pray to, praise in song or speech, and preach about his deity in any way he sees fit, so long as it is not illegal in any other way. Suppose his religious beliefs required him to perform the wedding of a 14 yr old girl to a 80 yr old man? Should the State allow that?

    As for being “imposed by the judiciary,” with them stepping in and overriding the “will of the people,” sometimes the will of the people is incorrect for the larger society. Case in point, the 2009 case of a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who refused to marry an interracial couple. That judge also stepped down, and later said, “‘I would probably do the same thing again,” he said. “I found out I can’t be a justice of the peace and have a conscience.'” This judge’s “conscience” told him that it was immoral for a white person to marry a black person. We call that bigotry and racism, and the courts overturned his decision, and the couple was allowed to marry. Should the judiciary have refused to step into that case? Should racism and bigotry of one man trump human rights?

    I would ask the same question in the case you bring up.

    • Fortunately your opinion is irrelevant.

      • I’m sorry to see you shutting down conversation in an open forum. If you have a different opinion to mine, please share it. Our country is founded on the basis of free speech, so please, feel free!

  3. Would
    we even be having this discussion if the government employee in
    question were a Muslim DMV official who refused to issue drivers’
    licenses to women based on his “sincerely held religious beliefs?” If
    doing your job violates your religion, then find another job for crying out loud.

    • The extremist apologists are out in force here. Thankfully you do not represent many except the militant 3%. It’ll all come out in the wash. Too bad it’s taking this much to make the civilized people rise up in righteous indignation.

      • Would you care to translate that into something semicoherent? I have no idea what you’re trying to say here.

        • He’s saying that gay marriage is BS and God destroyed 5 cities with Gays running things like they a
          Are trying to do now. Good luck with that wrath from God. Oh by the way there is no such thing as luck.

          • Your vague reference, “God destroyed 5 cities with Gays running things” does nothing to advance this conversation. If you are referring to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, those cities were destroyed because the residents failed in to extend the requisite hospitality to strangers. Using that as a reason to treat LGBTQI folks badly is counterproductive, as bigotry is inhospitable, and therefore it is the bigoted people trying to get these laws passed that are in danger of destruction.

            I tell you as a pastor, if you live in fear of God’s wrath, if that is your reason for worshiping God, then I am sorry for you. God is great, and He is worthy of all praise, glory and honor, but not fear; that’s just sad if you feel that way. God loves you, and me, and everyone else. Do not fear!

          • One man of God to another, your statement about Sodom and Gomorrah is false! You might want to read the account again. God destroyed the city because there was not 10 righteous people in the city. Not because they didn’t entertain or accept guest. The accusation that the city did not “show hospitality” to them is false. Lot took them in and protected them.

            God’s fear is real and should be considered. The Bible is full of passage that speak to “fear God.” Yes, not in a trembling sense, but in a sense of knowing His awesome power that could be used against you for sinning and rejecting Him.
            Job 28:28 And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'” Good day!

          • Well, first off, I’m not a man. I am a pastor. Lot wasn’t from S&G, he was an outsider, so his hospitality was what the Law dictated, but the townspeople, they were the ones who did not show hospitality. That’s why Lot was saved and the town destroyed.

            If you don’t mean “fear” then why use that word? Translate the verse correctly, as it was intended: “The awe of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Awe, not fear.

          • Lot was too from Sodom and Gomorrah, vs. Genesis 19:2,3 “servants house” “entered his house.” Abraham knew he was there and wished for his safety. You would need to read verse 29. Read Genesis 18:20 – says God is going down to check out the wrongs he had heard about. Genesis 18: 20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
            You might read a lot of the fear passages in the Bible.

          • LOL “Was too”?? Cute.
            Um, was not. Read Gen. 12 where it tells us that Abram and Lot were from Ur and left there through the direction of God. When Lot and Abram split up, that’s when Lot went to S&G. He was not a native there.

          • When a person has a HOUSE they live their. Why are you so unable to recognize a simple fact. Was the home of Adam and Eve originally the Garden of Eden? Good day, I am done.

          • Oh but we must remember that these were tribal people. Yes, Lot lived there, but it was not his ancestral home. Proof of this is that when Abraham died, his sons took his body back to his original home to be buried. The hospitality laws applied to the “people” of that land, and therefore not to Lot.

            And, yeah, I’ll go with that idea. The original home of Adam and Eve was Eden.

          • Neal Schindler


            “Homosexuality can not be called one of the sins of Sodom, Gomorrah or Gilbeah since it is
            not in any of the lists of their sins given in the O.T. Ezekiel 16:48-50 lists the
            specific sins of Sodom as pride, plenty, laziness, uncaring for needy, haughty and
            worshipping idols – which was an abomination – not homosexuality.”

          • You might want to loo at the actual passage tha

            48 As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.

            49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

            50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.t you quoted:

            I see nothing of “worshipping idols” it states otherwise as “AND committed abomination before me” – you might look up what the abominations of God were.

          • Neal Schindler

            “Abominations” — that’s a vague word open to interpretation if ever I saw one.

          • In a degree you are right. Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.
            There are many more charges that God makes that are an abomination to him.

          • Neal Schindler


            “It simply is not reasonable to believe the author of Leviticus intended
            to prohibit a form of homosexual relationship that did not exist at the
            time. When read in textual and historical context, the prohibitions in
            Leviticus 18 and 20 are clearly directed at homosexual temple
            prostitution, and that is how they should be applied.”

          • Neal Schindler

            Of course, I also think sex work should be decriminalized and regulated for the safety of the sex workers.

          • How do you know that homosexual was not practiced outside of a temple? So homosexuality has not always been a practice of mankind? You forget the wickedness of mankind. So it was prohibited to have homosexual practice in the temple but ok outside of it? You are not smoking at the present time are you. beyond believable or irrational at best.

          • The passages you point out have nothing to do with the temple. The word is not even used in the chapters between 18-20. God is talking about sexual misconduct, and homosexuality is only one of them. How did you know that homosexuality was not being done during this time? You mean man just started to do it on his own? Its not in his DNA? Well that one is right! Good day.

          • Neal Schindler

            I hope Harvey Milk will forgive me for this, but if God doesn’t like cities “with Gays running things,” to use Van Lear’s phrase, I have to question the ongoing existence of Seattle, San Francisco, and likely a number of other cities. Seattle’s mayor, Ed Murray, is openly gay. Yet last time I was there I noticed a distinct lack of fire and brimstone in the weather forecast.

          • Harvey was a cool guy; I think he’d be OK with you. 🙂

            I have two other thoughts on this:
            1. If the end is near, why aren’t they happy about that? They get to go home…
            2. 200 years of slavery, innocent women and children killed in our wars, our inhumanity and injustice to, well, pretty much everyone of color, OH and that whole “took all their land without asking or paying thing.” Those were reasons for God to put an end to America, but my legal, tax-paying, community-building, marriage to my wife is??
            Oh but wait, Van-Lear says God isn’t in control anyway, so yeah.

          • If you now that God waited 40 years, one generation, to come about before bringing judgment. No reason to punish people for policies they did not possibly support.

    • No, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, the Muslim would have been terminated immediately with no recourse.

  4. “For some time, the pro-gay left has employed tactics straight out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a book dedicated, ironically, to Lucifer, in a propaganda campaign that would make Josef Goebbels smile.”

    When you know that the argument you’ve made has no actual basis in reality make sure to through a reference to Nazis in at the end!

    • Neal Schindler

      I’ve been invoking my status as a Jew and the grandson of a Holocaust survivor (and son of a Holocaust Studies professor) more lately, and I think it’s because I’m more aware of people throwing around Holocaust references pretty casually. Starting a sentence with “the pro-gay left” and ending it by invoking Goebbels isn’t the subtlest rhetorical flourish, I have to say.

  5. God loves all ppl but not gay marriage. Otherwise he would have made Adam and Steve not Adam AND Eve. Not so long ago Sodomy was a crime. What happened? Oh right, the Catholic church out there violating and covering it up. Guess they figured disobeying God’s word was ok. NOT! WELL God paid for everyone’s sin by the death of Christ Jesus on the cross including homosexuality. But just remember he also destroyed 5 cities in the valley of Sodom and Gomorrah now aka the DEAD SEA. Be warned.

    • You are wrong to accuse the entire Catholic Church for covering anything up… You shouldn’t speak about something you know nothing about… The devil knows the one true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church. By spreading lies, you are doing his work. Turn towards truth!

      • The catholic church is not of God. Catholicism is all about the works of man through sacraments and buying one’s way into heaven. Good day!

  6. If Gay Marriage Pass In June This Will Only Be The Beginning Of The Down Fall Of This Country And GOD As We Once Knew It,…..It Will Willing Open The Doors For All Kinds Of Deviant Behavior To Be Protected By Law Once Gay Marriage Is Approved By The Supreme Court………It Will Completely FORCE The Churches Every Where To Perform Gay/Lesbian Marriages Or Face Jail Time……And That Is Only The Beginning Of Things It Will Completely Change In This Country!!!

  7. Of course the gay agenda does not hurt anyone. Ya right, and a mack truck won’t hurt a car in a head on collision. What a bunch of bunk!

  8. Imagine, government employees must do their jobs. What is this world coming to?

  9. Aranna Vallotton

    I just don’t like the idea of forcing people to do something they find moraly wrong.

  10. Breaking news on the subject of Gay Marriage

    Washington DC –Gay Marriage Opponents Warn:

    “Nation On Slippery Slope To Rationality.”

    Condemning the decision to OK gay marriage as “dangerously reasonable” and “beyond level-headed,” vocal opponents of same-sex marriage strongly cautioned the Supreme Court; “that supporting gay rights would put the United States on a one-way, slippery slope to rationality and actually make the United States look a little less ridiculous to the rest of civilized world.”

    “I don’t think people fully understand that letting homosexuals legally marry one another is just the very beginning of a dangerous road to clear logic and sound, sensible decision making,” said anti-gay protester Jack Cass, who warned that the landmark ruling will likely lead to “an unspeakable amount of intelligent discourse and thoughtful compromises across the country.” “I mean, we’re talking about granting people their basic human rights on the basis of written law and common decency here. What’s next? Using sound judgment and
    compassion to foster a more humane culture and system of government? This is pure lunacy.”

    Gay marriage opponent, Richard Cranium also stated; “The Supreme Court should leave the final decision on gay marriage in the capable hands of Texas, Alabama, Georgia and some misguided bigots in North Carolina who hide behind religious freedom rights and imaginary

    Lets take a look at both sides of the debate…


    The homophobic (but curious) at worst – misinterpreted at best – words of some dead guys (Leviticus 18:22, Deuteronomy 23:17, Romans 1:26)

    In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the
    entire country. That’s why we only have one religion in America

    Would further weaken traditional American values like prejudice, intolerance, and hatred

    The United States is rapidly running out of citizens to make second-class

    The Gay Ninja Agenda would successfully erode the immaculate, utterly flawless American family (Exactly How Has Never Been Explained?)

    They will take over the world because obviously gay parents will raise gay children

    (because straight parents only raise straight children)


    It’s always fun to piss off really irrationally radical religious people and watch
    their heads explode

    Bestowing dignity upon a wrongfully oppressed minority is just a nice thing to do

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