A North Carolina magistrate judge resigned on Monday so that he would not be forced to officiate same-sex marriages, the Citizen-Times reports.
Swain County Magistrate Judge Gilbert Breedlove said that “we were directed we had to perform the marriages” after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s marriage ban on October 10, 2014. “That was just something I couldn’t do because of my religious beliefs,” he continued.
“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,” Breedlove said. “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.”
Breedlove is also employed as a pastor at his church — which he refused to identify, for fear of backlash — but his main source of income was his position as a magistrate.
“That’s one of things about being a Christian,” he said. “You are able to serve the Lord, and the Lord will provide.”
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said that “our hope is not that anybody feels like they need to resign from their position. 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.”
Sgro also noted that attempts publicize resignations like Breedlove’s are “part of an effort to hype up a few small cases” by groups like the North Carolina Values Coalition and the Alliance Defending Freedom. “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,” he said.
“Hundreds and hundreds of people are being married by employees of the state across North Carolina with no problem.”