A total of six county magistrates have resigned over the past several weeks in North Carolina rather than honor a court order requiring them to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.
As reported earlier by The New American, on October 20 Swain County Magistrate Judge Gilbert Breedlove, in office for nearly 25 years, resigned his position following a federal court ruling that struck down North Carolina's voter-passed constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Breedlove followed Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam, Jr., who resigned his position on October 16, saying that being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies “would desecrate a holy institution established by God Himself.”
Since Breedlove's and Kallam's resignations, news reports have named four additional county magistrates who have thrown in the towel rather than compromise the authority of their office by “marrying” homosexuals. Christian Headline News identified the four officials as Gaston County magistrate Bill Stevenson, Graham County magistrate Tommy Holland, Union County magistrate Gayle Myrick, and Jackson County magistrate Jeff Powell.
All the judges said that they could not be compelled to violate their moral convictions for the sake of a court ruling. “It was something I had to do out of conscience,” Bill Stevenson said of his resignation. “I felt like to perform same sex unions would be in violation of the Lord’s commands, so I couldn’t do that.”
He added that “I hate to wax so biblical, but it says 'What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?' so that’s the stakes I put on this.”
Myrick told a local reporter that “for me to do what the state said I had to do, under penalty of law, I would have to go against my convictions, and I was not willing to do that. I want to honor what the Word says.”
Similarly, Holland said that he knew immediately after the court ruling that he would have to resign. “When the federal judge ruled that gay marriage was legal and North Carolina honors that, and part of a magistrate's job is to perform marriage ceremonies, I knew I couldn't honor that law,” Holland told the Christian Examiner. “It's against my belief. It's against what the Bible says.... I was raised a Southern Baptist. God has always taken care of me.”
Following the October 10 ruling for same-sex marriage by U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory assured that all state entities would abide by the decision, and while State Senator Phil Berger had asked for court protection for officials who refused to perform same-sex marriages on religious grounds, his request was denied.
Responding to the resignations, Rick McDermott of the pro-homosexual group Equality NC told reporters that “while we understand people have their own religious beliefs, we don't think this is about religious discrimination. It's really more so about the magistrates doing their job and following the law.”
But former magistrate Bill Stevenson said that the ruling is an indication that the state has “rejected the prime authority of the scriptures, something our Nation's Founding Fathers, such as John Adams, knew better than to do. In both the Old and New Testaments, homosexuality is something the Lord does not approve of, and since He doesn't, I could not put the sanction of the state on a relationship that runs afoul of scripture.”
He added, “I think one of the things we've lost as Christians is an understanding of the correct view of the moral commandments of the Lord, and how keeping them — by His grace — is required to demonstrate our love for Him.”