A longtime North Carolina judge has resigned his position rather than be forced to perform same-sex marriages against his Christian convictions. Swain County Magistrate Judge Gilbert Breedlove, in office since 1990, resigned October 20, citing the October federal court ruling that struck down North Carolina's voter-passed constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.
“It was my only option,” the 57-year-old Breedlove told the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times newspaper. “We were directed we had to perform the marriages, and that was just something I couldn't do because of my religious beliefs.”
Breedlove, who became an ordained minister in 1997, said that “I was Christian when I started. Then the law didn't require me to perform something that was against my religious belief. Now that law has changed its requirements.”
The former Marine Corps staff sergeant, whose main source of income was his position as magistrate, pointed out that “the whole Bible from front-to-end states that a marriage is between a man and a wife. Any other type of sexual activity other than that is what is defined as fornication.”
Chris Sgro of the homosexual activist group Equality North Carolina insisted that his group does not wish people to be forced to resign or lose their jobs because of being forced to accept homosexual marriage. “Our hope is that people across North Carolina will support same-sex marriage, and do their jobs and conduct same-sex marriages the same as they would for opposite-sex couples,” he said.
Breedlove is not the first North Carolina judge to quit over being forced to validate homosexual relationships as “marriage.” On October 16 Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam, Jr. resigned his position, pointing out that to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies “would desecrate a holy institution established by God Himself.”
Wrote Kallam in his resignation letter: “When I took my oath of office, I understood I would be required to perform weddings, and have done so throughout my tenure. I did not, however, take that oath with any understanding that I would be required to marry same-sex couples.”
Kallam resigned a day after a court order mandated state judges to perform civil marriages for same-sex couples under threat of suspension or dismissal if they refused. The order came after a magistrate in Pasquotank County refused to perform a civil ceremony for two men seeking to “marry.”
While there have been reports of other judges threatening to resign in protest of the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in North Carolina, Sgro claimed that the news is little more than “an effort to hype up a few small cases. If you hold a job or any position that serves the public or the state, then you have to carry out the duties of that job. Hundreds and hundreds of people are being married by employees of the state across North Carolina with no problem.”