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Thread: North Carolina pays settlement to former magistrate who resigned over conscience

  1. #1
    Veteran Member aboutenough's Avatar
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    North Carolina pays settlement to former magistrate who resigned over conscience

    RALEIGH, N.C. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Christian judge in North Carolina reached a $300,000 settlement with the state in a lawsuit for her conscience rights.
    The settlement took place in November 2017 but was not public knowledge until this Wednesday.
    When gay marriage was legalized in North Carolina in 2014, Union County magistrate Gayle Myrick prepared a resignation letter but met with her supervisors to ask them to accommodate her religious beliefs. (This was about a year before the Supreme Court approved of same-sex marriage for the whole nation in 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges.)
    The state government would not allow accommodations, however, Myrick was pressured into resigning in October 2014, just weeks before her retirement benefits began.

    The $300,000 settlement covered Myrick's attorney fees, lost pay and retirement benefits.
    "When same-sex marriage became legal," Myrick said in an online video, "I knew because of my religious convictions I would not be able to perform the ceremonies."
    She wanted to act on her sincerely held religious beliefs in a way that would not inconvenience the state, nor homosexual couples. She said she and her supervisor planned to "change my schedule so that I did not do any wedding ceremonies at all."
    But this plan between Myrick and her immediate supervisor was shot down by higher authorities. Legal counsel Stephanie Barclay said, "Despite her immediate supervisor's solution and support from her coworkers, a higher-level supervisor said that because Gayle's religious beliefs were motivating her request to shift hours, that request was denied."
    Barclay continued:
    What's interesting is that if Gayle had made her scheduling request for family reasons or health issues, drug rehab or even for no reason at all, the government said in court that her request almost certainly would have been granted. But because the reason for her scheduling the desperate request was because of her religious beliefs, she was forced to choose between the job that she loves and her faith.
    She was forced to choose between the job that she loves and her faith.Tweet
    In 2015, North Carolina passed a law allowing magistrates like Myrick to refrain from officiating civil marriages entirely, in accord with their religious beliefs. If that law had been in place earlier, Myrick would not have resigned.
    A federal judge ruled in March 2017 that the state of North Carolina was obliged to make recompense to Myrick. The newly-disclosed settlement several months later was a consequence of that ruling.
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/christian-judge-gets-settlement-in-conscience-rights

    This is the problem when a person is not accommodated and forced off the job because a persons conscience is not considered. The courts are starting to realize there is rights of conscience and she won her case

  2. #2
    Civis americanus borealis Singularity's Avatar
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    Judges and public officials should be allowed to recuse themselves from duties they cannot in good conscience (by their morals) perform. What they should not be allowed to do, if they are the supervisory official for given concern (such as the county clerk), is to refuse to do that duty and to use their authority to attempt to force constituents to go elsewhere or otherwise undertake significant hardship to get owed services. The moment they recuse, someone else should be appointed in their place and the service should be performed. If a public official anticipates that they cannot do something they will be regularly asked to do, such as sign gay marriage licenses or adoption papers, they should make that plain during their campaign or hiring process where applicable. The voters/government should be able to decide in advance if their services are worth having given that hindrance.
    Last edited by Singularity; 12th February 2018 at 05:42 AM.
    Thanks from MaryAnne, Dangermouse and Friday13

  3. #3
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    This is the problem when a person is not accommodated and forced off the job because a persons conscience is not considered. The courts are starting to realize there is rights of conscience and she won her case.
    No, she didn't win her case. She accepted a settlement in order to dismiss the case.
    Thanks from Friday13

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    Council Member Djinn's Avatar
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    The effort to adjust her schedule to avoid marriages altogether sounds like it would have been a reasonable solution. It would have allowed the judge to continue her job, without impacting those seeking marriage licenses.
    Thanks from jacobfitcher and Friday13

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    Dick with my Buzz...Try DebateDrone's Avatar
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    She is gone and SSM is still lawful. Its a win-win.

  6. #6
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    The effort to adjust her schedule to avoid marriages altogether sounds like it would have been a reasonable solution. It would have allowed the judge to continue her job, without impacting those seeking marriage licenses.
    And since she wss retiring soon anyway, there was no point in making a scene about the situation.

    Sent from my SM-J327V using Tapatalk
    Thanks from Friday13 and jacobfitcher

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    Veteran Member Eve1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    And since she wss retiring soon anyway, there was no point in making a scene about the situation.

    Sent from my SM-J327V using Tapatalk
    Think about the signal that would send to the other judges. Hard not to accidently set a precedent. Perhaps there was a way around it without actually having something so specific that might say you did it once so you can do it again. I'd probably have her resubmit her request leaving the reason blank or simply writing in personal reasons therefore taking religion out of the equation all together. Its pretty easy to say that you want a schedule change because your religion forbids you to work on certain days or after certain times so you might be opening a can of unintended worms by allowing this case.
    Last edited by Eve1; 12th February 2018 at 08:02 AM.

  8. #8
    olguy OlGuy's Avatar
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    When you get 300K dollars compensation the conscience stand goes out the window.
    Thanks from Friday13 and MaryAnne

  9. #9
    Veteran Member aboutenough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightSwimmer View Post
    No, she didn't win her case. She accepted a settlement in order to dismiss the case.
    A federal judge ruled in March 2017 that the state of North Carolina was obliged to make recompense to Myrick. The newly-disclosed settlement several months later was a consequence of that ruling. She filed a lawsuit and this judge ruled, hence she won the lawsuit

  10. #10
    Veteran Member aboutenough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    And since she wss retiring soon anyway, there was no point in making a scene about the situation.

    Sent from my SM-J327V using Tapatalk
    She lost her retirement benefits because she was one week shy of full retirement

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