The Corner

More on that North Carolina Law

Regarding my earlier post about religious liberty in North Carolina: Now that I look at it, I am not sure–and some correspondents tell me they do not think–that the North Carolina law that Stern condemns, and that is under legal challenge, actually makes it a misdemeanor to officiate at a same-sex ceremony. The law says, “Every minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage under the laws of this State, who marries any couple without a license being first delivered to that person, as required by law, or after the expiration of such license, or who fails to return such license to the register of deeds within 10 days after any marriage celebrated by virtue thereof, with the certificate appended thereto duly filled up and signed, shall forfeit and pay two hundred dollars ($200.00) to any person who sues therefore, and shall also be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.” That sounds to me as though the state is talking about the conditions for performing a valid marriage, not trying to prevent people from holding a ceremony that they may (though the state does not) consider as forming a marriage.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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