[background noise] Are we getting anything other than calling to order and recessing and suffice? There was something that has to [??] [gavel bangs] The Senate will come to order. Members will go to their seats. The sergeant at arms will close the doors. All members and guests in the gallery please silence all electronic devices. Senator Hise is recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, I move that the Senate do now recess subject to the standard stipulations set forth in Senate rule 24.1 to reconvene at 10AM. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Senate stands in recess until 10AM. [gavel bangs] [background noise] [blank audio]
??Order. Order.?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? father said if that if you called my application. I said, I'm sure if she's got a spot, and she ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Time?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hey, Jackson?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? for a visit. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Board. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm out. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I know. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And they ??
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In fact, believes in that. I mean would that be a basis for someone not to marry an interracial couple? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m unaware of a tenet of faith. That’s not a tenet of my faith that racial couples should not be allowed to marry, interracial couples should to marry, but I would say that the state may have an obligation to perform any marriage that comes through, depending on how that’s defined in law, but to force an individual to do something on that basis is something that I would object to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To ask Senator Hise one further question for clarification. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hise ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] So Senator Hise, you’re saying that in terms if someone’s religion said interracial couples could not marry, you would object to that, but do you believe that this bill would basically allow someone to opt out? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think this, I believe that this bill allows for magistrates to say that they will perform no marriages for a time period of at least six months under any circumstances, under any conditions and may begin that at whatever time they choose, but they may perform no marriages, and I believe the determination for that is not given. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, just to speak briefly on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, you have the floor, speak for the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think what we have here is a situation where there’s 675 magistrates in this state; at best, only 7 or 8 have indicated an objection. We should not be pandering to 7 or 8 individuals. I hear about polls. If you take in polls 40-50 years ago about school desegregation or what took place in terms of the integration of public facilities -- that vast majority of people would have been opposed to it, but the law basically stated that we had to honor those laws if they were passed, either by Congress or through the Supreme Court and judicial decisions. What we have here is a situation where really the Fourth Circuit has spoken. Soon the Supreme Court will speak. Underneath Equal Protection Clause, gay couples will be sanctioned the right to marriage, regardless of how we may feel about this individually or as a matter of religious convictions. We should not be here today at this hour, trying to circumvent the law. We should be about upholding the law. More importantly, we should be about enforcing the US Constitution because the US Constitution is the guiding light. It’s the beacon. It is indeed that force which gives each of us the rights that we exercise in this chamber today but throughout our lives. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we have any further discussion or debate? Senator Van Duyn, what purpose your ayes? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Van Duyn, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. What I know about the people in my district is that faith is at the core of their being and I will defend with every fiber of my being their right to practice their religion as they choose, but this bill is not about religion, it is about fairness, it is about equal protection under the law, and is about working for a North Carolina that looks forward towards a future where everyone in NC has the opportunity to live their fullest lives. Courts throughout this country have ruled that it is wrong to legitimize discrimination and yet that is what we are about to do today. I represent a district that is home to thousands of same sex couples, families that I know personally and are on my mind today as I speak. These are people who live every day as second class citizens and all they want is something that you and I utterly take for granted -- the freedom to love who you love and be who you are. Denying them the right to live their lives as their true selves is not only wrong, but it stifles our ability to realize our potential. And it is time for us to turn this page and say once and for all that North Carolina is moving forward, that we are open for business, and we welcome unreservedly everyone who wants to help us build a better future for ourselves and for our children. Come visit our beaches and mountains, and bring your family and friends. Looking to expand a business? We want to help you be successful. We cannot be that NC if at the same time we allow anyone to feel like they are second class.
...?? to corporations and especially to certain utility businesses. There was intentions of this body to reduce or show the reflection of that reduction in the billing statements and pass along the savings to the consumers. Not everyone did that, and so this bill clarifies that it was the intent that when we reduced the corporate rate for those corporations to reduce their rates to their consumers. Section 4 of this bill clarifies that. Section 24 is a conforming change that has to do with preventing double taxation for a group of individuals who were allowed to roll over their Roth IRAs into retirement accounts from one airline under the 2012 federal act. This part of the bill is reasonably time sensitive because it goes through October 15 of this year. What we are doing in this section of the bill is we are simply conforming with the federal rule that allows these people to take that deduction. So, if there are any questions, I will be happy to attempt to answer them. It is straightforward and again and in the words of our esteemed Senator Hartsell: it is a technical, it is a technical bill. Thank you. Thank you all, and I'm here to answer your questions if you have any. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Davis...your rights? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To see if Senator Rucho would yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Rucho do you yield for a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, Senator Davis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Rucho, I'm a little unclear on this Dominion Energy issue. Would you clarify that a little bit for me, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, thank you, Senator Davis. Good question. Senator Rabin and his explanation talked about this issue and the intent of the General Assembly in passing this bill and trying to simplify the utilities' bills to our consumers was to reflect the reduction in the amount of sales tax so that their bill would be basically a revenue neutral bill. And, fortunately, nearly every one of the utilities, both electric and gas, supported our intent, and actually returned the over collected corporate income tax, which was achieved because of what we accomplished the previous year in lowering the ?? or CIT in January of '14. And, in doing so, they all complied. The only one of those corporations that chose not to participate, and do what they should have done as a good corporate citizen, was Dominion Energy. And so what this does, is it basically provides clarity to allow the utility commission and the public staff which talked yesterday about this issue, and actually supports the direction we are trying to move, so again: providing clarity to allow every corporation to understand that if we do give a CIT cut, especially in a regulated industry, there has to be a reduction in the amount - on the rate - for the consumer. That should explain it. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have any discussion or debate? Here ??? the question before the Senate Sub-committee Substitute Bill 19 on second reading. All in favor vote Aye. Opposed vote No. 5 seconds will be allowed for the voting. Clerk will record the vote. [SPEAKER CHANGES] McKissick [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] 47 having voted in the affirmative and 0 in the negative may substitute Senate Bill 19 passes as second reading. It will remain on the calendar. Moving on to non roll-call bills, public bills, second reading, Senate Bill 2. Clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Bill 2: Magistrates Recusal for Civil Ceremonies. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton is recognized to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning, colleagues, it's nice to see everybody at work today. It's nice to know we have a chamber as dedicated as the Senate. Well, I want the House pages to know who does the work in the General Assembly. I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. We've got to have a little fun...
Senator Jackson started that out the other day. So I've decided to have a little fun with this. Members, I'm happy and pleased to be before you today to speak before you on this bill. I want to thank Senator Berger and others for their hard work on this effort. We had an interesting committee meeting yesterday. A lot of good, frank discussion. A lot of aspects of this bill were discussed and presented. A lot of the false assumptions of what this bill were about were dispelled yesterday, but not everybody had the benefit of that committee meeting, and not everybody can get accurate reporting from the news, so I'm going to go over the bill with you briefly, and after that, of course, I'll be happy to answer questions. Senate bill 2 would establish procedures by which magistrates can be recused from performing all lawful marriages and assistant and deputy registers of deeds can be recused from issuing all lawful marriage licenses based upon any sincerely held religious objection. The recusal would be for a minimum of six months and would continue until the recusal is rescinded in writing. Officials who so recuse themselves would not be subject to prosecution for failing to perform the duties imposed upon them by law. So let me touch on this for just a minute. These are the key points that I think that folks need to take away from this bill. Senate bill 2 will ensure that religious freedom for North Carolina's magistrates and the employees of the Register of Deeds is preserved through state law. Now let's be frank. While the federal court decision in October, which violated the principles of federalism, has thrown us a curveball, and we need to establish a framework under which reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious beliefs can be done, can be accommodated. This, by the way, is required by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, it's required under the North Carolina Constitution, and it's required under several different federal laws, including Title VII. Now, I'd like to take a moment to remind members of the oath that we took. I would like to read from our North Carolina Constitution. First I'd like to read to you the Preamble, which if you haven't read it lately, you probably ought to. It reads, "We the people of the state of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, sovereign ruler of nations, for the preservation of the American Union, and the existence of our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do for the more certain security thereof, and for the better government of the state, ordain and establish this constitution." And the Constitution goes on in Article One, Section 13. And I quote, "All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience." Now following these court orders that came down in October, the Administrative Office of the Courts sent a letter purporting to give guidance to court personnel, and really giving direction on what they are to do following this development. After receiving this letter, a number of magistrates resigned their positions. Why did they do that? Why did they resign after receiving this letter? For those of you who haven't read it, you probably should go read the letter. I have a copy. If it's necessary today, I'll read it to you if it comes to that. But in this letter they were informed that they could be subject to criminal prosecution, criminal prosecution for declining to participate in these court-ordered marriage ceremonies to which they held a sincere religious objection.
Now the legal advise that was reported to be given in this letter was clearly erroneous. Taking no regard for the first amendment, our constitution, or federal law and due to that misleading advise a number of us in this body wrote a letter to the director of AOC communicating with him, requesting him to correct this letter. He refused to do so. The proper legal analysis was clearly stated to him and he refused to do so. Why do I bring up this letter? I bring it up to you because it falls to us to correct this inaction by the AOC this inability to even try to use common sense. To try to accommodate people's sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise thereof. Since the foundation of this country we have respected religious liberty. It is a basic principal of this nation and of this state as I stated in our state constitution and of course we're all familiar with the US Constitution and many of us have read many cases over the years where the courts have construed may of our first amendment rights. So these magistrates have resigned. Several have filed lawsuits on their civil rights. Quite frankly I'm sure it is going to end up costing the state of North Carolina quite a bit of change because AOC could not take care of their own business. Common sense would allow these folks to be able to recuse themselves. There are plenty of people who are willing to perform these ceremonies but no, it's fallen to us. So Senate Bill two is a result of this effort that we have made to try to find the right ground to balance what we all know to be our basic rights against this newly discovered, this newly discovered idea of what marriage is that we somehow haven't been able to find for two hundred years but some very intelligent federal judges that are smarter than the rest of us have somehow found it for us. So we must figure out how to handle this as a state, as legislators we must find a way to balance these concerns. We must comply with valid court orders if that's the ultimate decision of the Supreme Court of the United States and it may be, I concede it may be, we'll have to learn how to deal with this. That's what part of this bill, that's what this bill in part is all about. How do we balance what we know to be our first amendment rights quite frankly, probably a majority of North Carolinian's first amendment rights, and yet still comply with these court orders. We must comply, I can see that we must comply. So let's be clear about this. This legislation prohibits any couples of whatever orientation they may have from being treated differently. A heterosexual couple who's entitled to seek a marriage license and have a civil ceremony before a magistrate will be treated just the same as a heterosexual couple that's entitled to that. There will be no difference, this bill ensures that. There will be no difference. That magistrate who chooses to recuse them self, they will not be able to pick and choose. They will not be able to say "I'll do it for this heterosexual couple but I won't do it for the homosexual couple". They will not have that choice. They will either perform marriages or they will not. They will either issue licences in the register of deeds or they will not. That's what this bill says. This bill is about protecting religious
freedom and doing so in a way that these court orders can be carried out. Colleagues, the protections under the First Amendment are well established. They're well established again under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the North Carolina Constitution, and a variety of federal laws. We must, we must, we must, we must find the right course to be able to balance these conflicts. We must find the right way to do that. We may not trample upon the rights that we all know to be true and dear to our hearts, and that of religious freedom, because of the whims and dictates of a few. We must find a way to do this. That's why I am pleased to be here to support this bill and speak on it. People should not have to choose between their faith and their jobs. This bill addresses this. This concrete problem, this problem that is before us today, that was thrust upon us by the inability of the Administrative Office of the Courts to just even have a common sense in the office arrangement about figuring out who's willing to do it and who can't. With this fundamental change, we must take steps to ensure these constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom is not stripped away because of these federal courts' action. I commend the bill to you, and I'm happy to take any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senators, I'd like to recognize that Senator Pate is back in the chamber. Is there any discussion or debate? Senator Stein, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To debate the bill, Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, you have the floor to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Members of the Senate, public service, public service. I don't think there's any higher calling. It's rewarding, uplifting, ennobling. It is why each of us is here and does what we do. As a public servant, I represent all the people in my district: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheists, Agnostics, whatever religion they have, Black, White, Brown, Tan, male, female, Democrat, Republican, Independent, able-bodied, disabled, gay, straight, all of them. I do not, we do not have the right to pick and choose whom we serve of the public. It's called public service. We don't get to select whom we want to help. It's public service, not selective service. This bill offends this fundamental notion of public service in a very particular way. It gives special rights to two categories of state employees, magistrates and assistant registrars of deeds, as it relates to a single job function, the performance of civil marriages of gay people. These positions are officers of the court and agents of the state. In fact, the magistrate must take and subscribe to the following oath: I do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States. That's it. It doesn't then put in a caveat saying, "Well, except for those parts of the Constitution that displease me." Let's consider the consequences if we pass this bill. If you are sincere about your motivations for this bill and it gets enacted, there is absolutely no rational reason to stop here. No reason. If a clerk at the Department of Revenue is opposed to gay marriage, and he believes that processing a tax return for a
… gay couple, married filing jointly is contrary to his religion, you must allow that person the right to refuse to process that tax return or else, according to your logic, you are discriminating against that person. You must similarly allow a ticket taker at the North Carolina Zoo of a gay couple with children to refuse to sell a family pass to those people as they walk through the door, or you are discriminating against that ticket taker. For that matter why should a County Health Department nurse be required to consult with the gay spouse of a sick person? You are offending them to force them to do so. Why would a school administrator who refuses to enroll the child of a gay married couple. Why can’t they do that? A DMV clerk should be able to refuse to provide a new driver’s license to a gay married person who wants to change the last name to that of her spouse, if you believe what you say you believe. The list could go on for as long as we think of any government service provided to the people of North Carolina, because of your logic you’re discriminating against these people’s religious beliefs. If you deny them the right to discriminate against gay people. Gay married people. In fact, all these public servants I've just described actually have an arguably stronger argument than the magistrates because they’re not forced to swear to uphold the Constitution like the officer of the court, like a magistrate does. Not only is there no rational reason to stop and limit this bill, to discriminating for magistrates and assistant register’s deeds, there’s no rational reason to limit it to State employee’s targets of their discrimination of gay people. It should open up the flood gates to any form of discrimination that offends someone’s beliefs. If a public servant, an after school public school teacher, has a sincerely held religious belief against having child out of wedlock they should be able to refuse to interact with a parent, a single mom, who is unmarried. A teacher who does not believe in evolution should have the right to refuse to follow the curriculum or else we are discriminating against that teacher and their sincerely held religious beliefs. What about a County nurse who believes that contraception is immoral and contrary to their faith? Should they have the right to deny to provide contraception to a heterosexual married person? Can you not see that this bill takes us down a road that we must not go? Passing this bill will, in fact, embolden other public servants to pick and choose who and when they perform their job. They will choose to deny to serve the very people whose taxes it is that pays their salaries, and whose obligation it is to provide services to the people. My final point is that this bill, Senate Bill 2, right up at the top, top priority for this session, for this chamber, shines the absolute wrong spotlight on our state. We live in such an insanely competitive world. We are struggling and clawing to get whatever kind of economic activity we can here in North Carolina. We have a lot of debates about the best way to do that, but I assure you this is not the best way to do that. The North Carolina brand is important to attracting businesses, entrepreneurs, talented workers, innovators, entities and people who have choices about where they want to locate. With this bill, we are putting ourselves in league with Alabama as the states that refuse to respect the Constitution. What signal are we sending? How is Apple, with its gay CEO, gonna look at North Carolina if we move this bill forward? Will he see North Carolina as a forward thinking creative state that’s open for business? Or will he see a state that clings to divisive, social battles even after other folks have moved. And by the way, the people of North Carolina have moved on.
70% of North Carolina think that now that gay marriage is legal, it has had no impact on their life, and that includes a majority of Republican people in North Carolina. Our social divisions are healing, yet this bill rips the scab right off. Like a laser, we should be focusing on creating jobs, improving economic conditions, strengthening education, strengthening the middle class, not refighting the same painful, contentious issues of the past. That's why I'm opposing this bill and I ask you to join me in its opposition. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To see if Senator Stein will yield to a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, fortunately for me sometimes the legal system is a little of a mystery to me. I don't work it in it, but if you have prosecutors or district attorneys in this state that have a religious objection to the death penalty, do you force them to prosecute those cases for the death penalty? [SPEAKER CHANGES] There are jobs which by definition have discretion in terms of how they're implemented. When a particular case comes before a district attorney, they evaluate what is the evidence, what is the nature of the crime, and then they choose what charge to bring. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield for a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just to clarify that, are they allowed to recuse themselves and not prosecute a case for the death penalty? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I, I don't know the answer to that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick has the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have quite a few concerns about this bill. First, it's distasteful, it's offensive, and it's bad public policy, because what we're trying to do is to lawfully allow public employees to discriminate against gay couples. As legislators, we should be constructively involved in upholding the law, not being crafty in coming up with means that allow people to discriminate and to circumvent the law. The fourth circuit has spoken. North Carolina is within the fourth circuit. United States court of appeals. Gay marriage is now allowed in this state. The administrative office of the court has spoken and indicated what magistrates have an obligation to do when they take that oath of office. We should be backing up the fourth circuit. We should be backing up the administrative office of the court, not sitting back and using our constructive energies to circumvent the law. It's the wrong thing to do. It's bad public policy. It makes me wonder what we might have done back in the 1950s when school desegregation was a major concern before Brown versus board of education or shortly after then and integrated the public school system. If we had teachers that didn't want to teach African American students, if we had principals that don't want to officiate in the schools that had them, would we had somehow come up with a law that would have allowed them to opt out? I would hope not. And if there had been a snack bar down at the local courthouse where previously, African Americans couldn't be served, but they were government employees and because of their religious convictions and beliefs we didn't feel they had to after the law had changed, would we have sat back and come up with a crafty law to allow them out? I would hope not. And before Loving versus Virginia, the supreme court case that allowed for mix race couples to marry that smote down all of those laws that prohibit it, would we have come up with a law to exempted the magistrates and to exempted those that are in the registered deeds offices offering marriage licenses to do it because they had religious convictions against mixed race couples? I would hope not. The law has changed. I ask you to put your personal thoughts aside, your personal objections aside. We took an oath to uphold the law. We took an oath to make certain that all people in this state have these equal rights and opportunities, and those rights extend to gay couples. We want to be on the right side of history. We want to be judged in a way that's most appropriate. So a decade from now, when your grandchildren look back and try to see whether you were a part of a force that basically went out and tried to craft a law to allow discrimination, if that was the right thing to do
We already were the last state to pass a constitutional amendment that prohibited gay marriages. Less than two years have passed. We're on the wrong side of history. Do we really want to now, at this point in time, as Senator Stein said, you know, I guarantee yesterday the Secretary of Commerce in the Commerce Committee talking about how competitive it is to get jobs and opportunities. North Carolina has had a state and a reputation for being a state that's progressive, a state that's inclusive. At a point in time in the South when you had governors like Lester Maddox down in Georgia and George Wallace down in Alabama, we had good governors here in North Carolina. We had folks like Terry Sanford. We had people like Jim Holzhowzer. People like Governor Martin. People like Jim Hunt. We were known for being inclusive. We were known for being transformative. We were known for being at the cutting edge. We were known for being that state in the South that regardless of what the other states were doing, regardless of what was going on, business was welcome. We need to make certain that regardless of one's race, one's religious convictions, one's sexual orientation, that businesses and citizens are welcome in this state. That we're not a state that will go back and craft clever bills to lawfully allow for discrimination. It's the wrong thing to do. It's bad public policy and history will not treat us well if we continue to move along this step. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tarte, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tarte has the floor to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Of all the days and all the opportunities to stand up and speak, this would be the one bill I would really not like to talk about. I am about to step out on an island by myself and I'm going to share my thoughts and views a little bit, not so much to try to persuade somebody to take a position one way or another, not to talk on the position of one person's view or point of view is right or wrong because this is a very difficult topic. This is really a balance between religious beliefs and the law and your beliefs about the law for me, and I've done some homework on this. First of all, just as background, I'm a Methodist. Our church takes a position on same sex marriage. We ban it, we do not allow it. Our bishop has ruled if an ordained minister participates in they will be banned and sanctioned in the church. The tough topic, we in our congregation, our pastor talked about this whole issue about four weeks ago on crucial conversations, it's tough, is splits the church. It's divided churches on this topic. I have a little bit of a unique position as I speak before you today in that I have the authority to perform marriages. I marry people, and I will tell you flat out, my definition of marriage is in support of Amendment 1. I believe marriage and as I've been taught is the holy vow taken between a single man and a single woman as a sacrament with God, and I uphold and I believe that. I personally would not and will not marry people of the same sex. That's my religious foundation and belief, but what we've crossed into also is the rule of law, and I've done my homework talking to judges at all levels, the highest levels down to other magistrates and chief magistrates about this issue, and in that research we've talked about some, and I'm not an attorney, but the components of the law, constitutionality is an issue that we talked, and based on the homework I've done I think this will actually be a constitutional law and withstand that scrutiny. We talk about the oath and administering and adhering to the oath and office, it's a consideration. Equality is that cornerstone of our constitution and it's a cornerstone of how we treat people around this issue, and last, and maybe more importantly for this bill which gives it I think great stature is accommodation. I think there is an importance in accommodating people's religious beliefs and adhering to their first amendment rights, and the ability to accommodate that as long as we're not prejudicing or stepping on the rights of other individuals. But with that said, I think there's also the, we set precedents, and that's what the law is about. There's also something as simple as the reasonable man test
and I worry if we substitute same-sex marriage, would we interpret that law the same way or differently from a reasonable person's test of the law based on the statute how we're writing it right now? Couple last thoughts I will leave you with is talking with one chief magistrate. The interesting comment that that person made to me was the final instructions, and I'm going to paraphrase, that judges often do to juries. And basically the comment is, you must interpret and follow the law as I instruct you, not as you want the law to be. The law is on the books currently. I think we have an obligation to both adhere to that same instruction as we instruct jurors and citizens to follow the law. I think about this one bothers me, keeps me up at night. One gentleman, Herman Hamilton, in my adult Sunday school class for the last 20 years, recently passed away. He was the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Rosa Parks. Up until the point of him passing away last year, he refused to talk about it. There is a right and a wrong. I'm not here to pass judgment and not make you think one way or the other, just something that we have to consider as we move forward. What the chief magistrate also told me, which is the reason I'm going to vote against this bill, and doesn't give me any pride to do that in any way, shape, or form, it goes in some way against my religious beliefs, but the need to protect the rule of law, is that the magistrate, the chief magistrates believe they already have within their ability to handle this issue within scheduling, to accommodate those that need to be accommodated. They don't necessarily need this legislation to do that. And I recognize there's issues with rural magistrate offices. This is not perfect. Life isn't perfect in any way. But the last thing around the magistrates was an interesting perspective. They can't be fired. They can only be impeached, and they thought the easiest way to do this is just make this offense, if you wanted to call it an offense, or inability to execute on this, a non-impeachable item, and then it would resolve the matter without all the issues that we're trying to do, and still protect the First Amendment rights, protect religious freedoms, and yet give the flexibility to the magistrate's office. So, with that, I think it's a balance between accommodation and trying to do the right thing, which I absolutely believe the bill's trying to do that, and all my colleagues are trying to do. Balancing it with the rule of law, and following the law, and not setting bad precedents. I love each of you. We're all God's children. I don't know what the right answer is. This keeps me up at night like you cannot believe. I wish in some ways we could all just hug each other and love each other and recognize that, as God instructs us. I don't live in the Old Testament, I live in the New, and Christ is about love, and this is about trying to do the right thing. I thank you for tolerating me sharing my thoughts on this. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Smith, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Smith, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] As a freshman in this august body, I was looking forward to coming here to work on issues that are important to the citizens of North Carolina, like jobs and education. Instead, the first bill introduced into this chamber is a socially divisive bill, blatantly discriminatory, and will surely be challenged in court, costing the taxpayers of North Carolina money to defend it. It seems to me that if you were a magistrate, you took an oath to uphold the duties of that office, and if you now feel that you cannot do that, you should resign your office and look for other employment. I would urge you to vote against this bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Randleman, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Randleman has the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Ladies and Gentlemen, for two days I have sat and listened to members talk about magistrates. As a former clerk of superior court, I feel I am most qualified to speak on the issue of magistrates. As a clerk I interviewed applicants, I submitted nominations for prospective magistrates, I on occasion had to write disciplinary letters involving magistrates, and since magistrates must be reappointed every four years, I ultimately made the decision regarding their nomination for reappointment. You've heard about six magistrates who chose to leave their position
For one reason or another since October. Collectively these magistrates represent 103 years of experience as a magistrate or in some related field, experience that cannot be replaced, experience that is also costly to taxpayers. Magistrates are dedicated public servants. Many work 24 hour shifts and what, when we are all asleep in our nice, cozy beds, they are working to keep our community safe. Magistrates are truly on the front line in providing public safety all across the state of North Carolina. In honor of these dedicated public servants, past, present and future, I will be supporting this legislation. Thank you, Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, for what purpose do you rise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill, Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you all for your great remarks and to Senator Tarte for his courage. I also wanted to be clear here that the legislation, at least it seems to me, is driven by an underlying belief or philosophy that the people who have religious convictions against gay marriage are better than, superior to or more valuable than the gay people who are seeking to be married or others who may be seeking to get married that, who's, to whom there might be religious objections. We're using an ostensibly non-discriminatory purpose for doing this while to continue to demean and disparage and stigmatize, particularly the people seeking gay marriage, by emphasizing the need to protect those who would be sworn to solemnize those marriages or provide in the case of registers the licenses, to protect those who would have religious objections to doing that and we are extending it really to any kind of marriages beyond gay marriages. Any kind of marriages that might spawn religious objections, and we're passing an even more dangerously, this legislation, not on some neutral palate, but on the cultural backdrop of extreme polarization in our society around gay marriage, certain religious groups such as Muslims and perhaps interracial marriage, there may be lingering prejudice regarding that. All of these are constitutionally protected groups and activities, so what do we do here? We are setting up our employees to engage in unconstitutional activities as this legislation may be applied. I would challenge the notion that this legislation prohibits different treatment. In fact, it sets up the potential for different treatment precisely because an employee can pick and choose the time at which they want to recuse themselves. Senator Bingham, Magistrate Bingham could marry Jared Tillman and Trudy Wade and then have a religious conviction when I show up with Valerie Fushe to have the same ceremony performed, and there's nothing in this legislation that would prohibit that and I have a strong concern about that because of the cultural backdrop and the polarization we know that is out there. We set up our employees to engage in this unconstitutional behavior and we open the door to citizens presenting themselves for a public service they have a right to have and being demeaned or disparaged or stigmatized as someone might decide to recuse themselves, or in a small community they might know that they married somebody 3 hours before, the day before, but somehow refuse to then marry them. To me this is a huge loophole and it is red meat that preys upon the prejudice that we know is out there, and finally we are structurally reducing the access to marriage for everyone based on our prejudice against those to whom we have the religious objection by creating this minimum of 10 hours a day so many days a week that one can access marriage in a jurisdiction. For that reason, those reasons and others that you have already heard in the chamber, I think this is a dangerous framework for addressing this issue and as Senator
Indicated there surely might be better options to balance, more fairly balance the rights that we all have concern about here. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To see if Senator Bryant will yield to a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, do you yield to a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, I read the statute and I can't see anywhere in here where it says somebody could marry someone today and fifteen minutes later not marry someone, and thirty minutes later marry someone else. Is it not in this statute that they must recuse themselves from performing marriages for six months before they can change? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President? Yes. Senator Apodaca, you have to restrain, refrain from marrying six months after you recuse yourself, but there is no time frame or time limit for you notifying your superior, the district court judge or the register of deeds, of your recusal. That can be done at any time, and then the time runs from when you notify them and that is all verbal, first of all. It's not in writing. There's no official record of it. It, from what I have seen in the statute, the recusal, rescinding the recusal is in writing, but recusing yourself is, is strictly an interpersonal activity between you and your superior. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me, may I ask this. Keep the mic up, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, would you, is this a follow up question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, do you yield for a follow up question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I know it's difficult to ask lawyers questions and get straight answers. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes or no? I recuse myself from performing a marriage, today. I must not marry anyone for six months. Is that true? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You are correct on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] However, you can marry somebody today before you recuse yourself or the hour before you recuse yourself, and then recuse yourself. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, mister President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, do you yield for a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield, mister President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, that wasn't the question. The question was, I decide not to marry you and Senator Stein for many, many reasons. It wouldn't be a good mix for you, at all, but then from that point on, I can't marry anyone for six months. Is that not correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is correct, Senator Apodaca. That just wasn't my point. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, Senator Barefoot, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To see if Senator Stein would yield for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A lot of, I've heard a few comments made about jobs and the economy, and Senator Stein, you made one about Apple. And so I've got a question for you. Where is the iPhone made? You can look at yours if. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a shield on mine. Why don't you answer the question if you know it, because I don't. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, mine's made in China, where most iPhones are made. Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield for a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What is China's policy on same sex marriage? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I expect that that is not a country whose policies we want to be embracing to improve our competitive advantage. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield for a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So then why did the Apple CEO send all the manufacturing there? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I, I am not a member of Apple in terms of its, I'm not a member, I don't even own stock in Apple. So I don't know why Apple sent it there. I expect because it's cheaper to make things there, but if you think that the creative class, these companies whether it's Red Hat or Citrix or whatever, are gonna come here because the, we have the lowest cost employees the way that Apple sends their manufacturing to China, you're deluding yourself. They're coming here because we have innovative, talented, creative workers, and when you ask those folks what kind of community they want to live in, they don't wanna live in a community that legally tolerates and encourages, in fact, encourages discrimination of any kind. And that's what I’m trying to compete for. Now, as for what does Apple CEO think of this? Apple, I don't think, is looking to come and manufacture in North Carolina, but there are other corporations with gay CEOs that are considering North Carolina as opposed to Virginia or Massachusetts or Texas or any other state, and I don't wanna be out there on a sore thumb or on an island like Alabama is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] May I speak to the bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Barefoot, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just with regards to jobs and the economy, this, this chamber passed the marriage amendment a few years ago, and we've been one of the leading producers of new jobs in the United States of America. Apple's largest manufacturing presence in the world is in a country that is completely hostile to same sec marriage. And so I submit to you that some of the comments
made here today by senators imposing their thoughts of what business leaders will and will not do may be erroneous. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I rise to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It's been argued that jobs and economics are valued more than our First Amendment rights. I don't agree. It's been argued that the North Carolina brand is valued more than our First Amendment right. I don't agree. It's been argued that our government functions are more important than our First Amendment rights. I certainly don't agree. Our First Amendment rights are fundamental to who we are as a people. One of the things that brought people to this continent to begin with was religious freedom, the ability to worship as you want to, as you feel. We've got to protect that right. I agree with this bill and I recommend it to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Ford, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, see if Senator Cook will yield for a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Bring it on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, do you have a job? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do I have a job? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's debatable. I get paid, what, $13,900 bucks a day to do this job? It's sort of a job, yeah. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Davis, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To see if Senator Stein would yield for a question, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Stein. I've been married for 42 years, which is a real testimony to Judy Salliers, and her patience, but if I was to decide to marry another woman, or a guy, or two guys, would that be, would I be considered, would you agree to that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would not. And by the way, it's not lawful, and the Constitution doesn't require that the state recognize that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield for a follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So do you think that's discrimination against me, a law-abiding, honorable person? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do not believe it's discrimination because the Constitution has not been determined to recognize that form of marriage. If the Supreme Court. No, no, I don't. I do not. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] So the answer then is that you would be discriminating against me for wanting to have one of each or be married to another person? [SPEAKER CHANGES] In our daily lives we are ?? to make personal choices. You, everyone of you, us, has the right to join a country club that doesn't allow Black people, that doesn't allow Jewish people, that doesn't allow women. We're allowed to go worship in a church that doesn't have any gay people. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires any pastor, minister, rabbi, imam, anyone to perform a same-sex marriage. What the Constitution has been ruled, determined to require is that the state not discriminate between two consulting adults who want to get married. Who love each other and want to get married. That's the law of the land. It's the state, the Constitution makes a requirement of the state and what is the state if not state employees and the civil servants who do that work? That's what the Constitution requires. That's the type of discrimination we must not tolerate. In terms of your personal beliefs, my personal beliefs, we're allowed to believe whatever we want. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to thank you, Senator Stein. I'd like to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Davis, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, and I want to thank Senator Berger for bringing this bill forward. It appears to me as though we're allowed to discriminate, but
Selectively and that's what I just heard from Senator Stein, and I will say that I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman at one time. I think that's the bedrock of our civilization and I'm really concerned about where we're going with regards to marriage, but this bill doesn't appear to be that to me. Now, I'm handicapped when it comes to the law but I'm not so handicapped when it comes to the science. This bill appears to me to be a way for people who are licensed or authorized to perform marriages in this state to be able to refuse to endorse a same-sex marriage so long as they have legitimate religious beliefs, and it appears to me, as Senator Cooke has said, that that is a basic right that we have as American citizens to exercise our faith and to have our religious freedom, so I will be gladly supporting this bill and I thank Senator Berger for bringing it forward. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Daniel, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To ask Senator Newton a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton, is the state obligated, does the state have to provide the service of providing marriages. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don't believe it's obligated to do that, it's currently the law. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator do you yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We can debate, Senator Newton, I guess whether the state has to perform this service for our citizens or not, but since we do currently and under this bill is there any person or any couple that would be denied the service of having their marriage performed if they were to come to the courthouse for that purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me answer your question two ways. I want to try not to violate Senator Apodaca's rule of not giving a straight answer. Yes, there are people, for example, that would not be able to be married even if they're heterosexual. A father and a daughter couldn't get married. A man could not marry a woman who was married to another man. A man couldn't marry his aunt. Aunt couldn't marry her nephew. We're not even talking about the homosexual marriages, so clearly at least for now we have some standards about who could be married and who can't. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator Newton. I'd like to ask Senator Barefoot a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Barefoot, do you yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Barefoot, you mentioned I guess one reason why a corporation with a social conscience might not want to locate its manufacturing facilities in China considering China's environmental policies, their life policies and any other social policies they might have. Can you think of one reason why a socially conscious corporation would want to locate in China? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, I don't know the answer to that, but what I do know is that Senator Stine said that we're getting close to looking like Alabama and Alabama has three auto manufacturers, Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Barefoot. I'd like to speak to the bill, Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Daniel you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to take us back to 2011 for a moment when we began considering whether to put the marriage amendment on the ballot or not and the argument we heard against it was well, we've got a defense of marriage law, we don't need a marriage amendment. Well, at the time our argument against that, or at least my argument against it was we had seen what happened in other states, how readily Federal judges would strike down state defense of marriage laws and I guess our thinking at the time, my thinking at the time was surely if the people of North Carolina vote on a constitutional amendment, an amendment of our constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman that those esteemed individuals that have been appointed to the Federal bench would respect, if they didn't respect the will of the voters through their elected officials, through constitutionally established laws, then surely they would respect the constitutions of 31 states whose voters have gone to the polls and chosen to have traditional marriage amendments added to their constitutions. How wrong I was, how wrong we were.
To believe that that was true, and I think this whole debate today shows the chaos that the federal bench is creating across this country for the simple reason that they refuse to respect the will of 50 million voters across this country. And this is just the beginning of the debates that we're gonna have on these type issues when what I call lawyers in a black robe decide that they want to be super legislators and as Senator Newton said yesterday in the committee, they think they know better than God, and they certainly think they know better than, than the American people and the North Carolina people. So we're here today because two lawyers in a black robe sitting in a court in Richmond decided in a two to one vote that North Carolina shouldn't have a marriage amendment. And I, I'm afraid where this is gonna go in the future. We see it all across the country where if, if you refuse to comply in your business with the mandates of the court, and the other side just says well, we'll show you. We'll take your house. We'll take your property. We'll take everything you've worked a lifetime to earn away from you. Now I guess I'm getting a little bit, somebody could probably object. I'm getting far afield from this bill, but to bring it back to where Senator Newton started, this is one bill to solve one simple issue. Whether the right of conscience of our, of a couple of classes of state employees should be honored, no one will be denied the right to be married in a, in a North Carolina courthouse unless one of the examples that Senator Newton mentioned arises. So I urge you to support the bill. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Senator Jackson, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Jackson, you have the floor to debate the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think it's a tremendous credit to this body that our debate today has remained as substantive and civil as it has. We are struggling with the moral issue while the ground of social change is shifting beneath our feet. I think we all accept that there are a multitude of deeply held, conflicting views on this topic, and yet the tone of mutual respect despite those differences has permeated this discussion. Y'all have even been nice enough to toss some softballs to Senator Stein, give him some batting practice. He appreciates that. From a purely constitutional point of view, however, this bill is caught between a rock and a hard place. Specifically, it's caught between the fourteenth and the fifth amendments. The potential effect of this bill is very broad. It includes protection for magistrates who exempt themselves from any marriage in which they sincerely object on religious grounds. Any marriages. Not just same sex marriages. If this bill becomes law, it will be legal for magistrates to refuse to perform interracial marriages. If this bill becomes law, it will be legal for magistrates to refuse to perform interfaith marriages. If this bill becomes law, a magistrate can perform a marriage for a white couple, then ten minutes later an interracial couple can walk in the door and the magistrate can refuse, and the six month waiting period would begin as Senator Bryant pointed out. That can happen under this law. And here's where the fourteenth amendment comes in. Race and religion are protected classes, and that level of discrimination will be subjected to strict scrutiny. You won't find a legal scholar in the country who thinks this bill can survive strict scrutiny. If strict scrutiny is applied to this bill, it fails. That's the fourteenth amendment. Now the defense, as some will say, is that this isn't about interracial marriage, and it isn't about interfaith marriage. This is about same sex marriage. The problem is that in singling out the true purpose of this bill, as applying specifically to same sex marriage, you violate the fifth amendment. Here's a quote. The legal differentiation
...demeans the couple whose moral and sexual choices the constitution protects, and whose relationship the state has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and it’s concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives. No legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state by its marriage laws sought to protect in personhood and dignity. That’s a tough quote for this bill. And the quote would be easier to dismiss if it weren’t for the fact that it comes from Justice Kennedy writing for the majority and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the federal government’s prohibition on same sex marriage. And what he’s saying, the cliff notes are the Fifth Amendment rejects any law whose principle effect is singling out same sex couples for different treatment...even if there’s another legitimate purpose. And that’s the crux of it. Kennedy recognizes this religious objection may be a legitimate purpose, but it doesn’t outweigh singling out same sex couples for different treatment under the law. That balance that we’re all talking about has already taken place at the level of the Supreme Court. And according to the Supreme Court, it is too high a price to pay for laws that have the effect of singling out same sex couples and ultimately treating them in a way that is humiliating. Either this law violates the Fourteenth Amendment or it violates the Fifth Amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Woodward, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Woodward has the floor. Speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] In the shortened time that we’ve been here because of weather, we haven’t spent time on the things I was hoping we’d spend more time on during this session -- strengthening our economy, better educating our children, providing healthcare to our elderly, veterans, the poor, the infirmed. And if we’re gonna shorten our crossover date by a week, which I think is a good idea actually, then we’re gonna have even less time to discuss those important issues I think our constituents sent us here to discuss and to work on. But instead, we’re taking up one of our top priorities, Senate Bill 2, a divisive social issue, which is only gonna lead to contentious and costly court battles. We can see it coming. Sen. Jackson just pointed out a few of those points that we’re gonna see, particularly the issues of message. We often blur the lines between a definition of religious marriage and the definition of civil marriage. Yesterday in committee, Sen. Newton shared with us his deep felt belief, and we’ve heard other senators, Sen. Clark, Sen. Davis and others today, their deeply held beliefs that marriage is ordained by God to be between one man and one woman. Many of you in this chamber share that belief and millions of North Carolinians share that belief. There are also millions of other North Carolinians, people of faith, including me, who have different but equally held deep religious convictions about what marriage should be. When a couple stands before their pastor, their minister, their priest, their rabbi at the altar, under a chuppah or on a sandy beach, they are exercising their religious belief in marriage. And it’s being performed by an efficient who shares their belief, their values. When a couple stands at the counter at the County Register of Deeds or before a magistrate and presents no legal objection to the marriage, no legal obstacle, they have an expectation to receive a legal civil marriage, performed by an efficient, sworn to protect the constitution, all of the constitution without regard to his or her personal beliefs.
ETKJLQ [0:00:00.0] We have had some conversation about that and we appropriate to place legal obstacles to civil marriage now age, blood relations but gender is not one of those obstacles now, it’s been debated in this chamber, it’s been voted on by the citizens of North Carolina, and it’s been litigated in our highest courts, and it continues to be litigated in our highest courts. The gender is not a legal obstacle to marriage in this state now. Senate Bill 2 continues to blow the lines between the religious definition of marriage and the legal-civil definition of marriage. Now, it is I have to confess articulately written bill that makes an inarticulate policy of that masks and the inarticulate policy of separate but equal. To avoid the discrimination, degradation, and stigmatization same sex couples will encounter when a public official refuses to issue a license or solemnize their legal marriage. This bill, to do that this bill minimizes all legal civil ceremonies. Reducing them to inconvenient times forcing them on to elected officials causing disruption and busy offices and court schedules, it is an inadequate public accommodation. Senate Jackson went through some of the legal arguments with this and I believe they will be litigated at length and a great cause the tax payers of North Carolina if we pass it but it does speak and there are serious issues about separate but equal under this bill. On public buses everybody could always ride the bus, it’s just that some folks had deeply held beliefs but there are some people who needed to sit in the back of the bus for many years, when it comes to legal-civil marriage this bill puts everyone in the back of the bus. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion or debate? Senator Cook what purpose you raise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To debate the bill second time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Cook you debate the bill second time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Folks who have talked about contentious legal proceedings due to passage of this bill, I’m not a lawyer and I appreciate the legal ?? I have heard this morning. I just take a common sense approach, if I were a Magistrate and we didn’t pass this bill and I loss my job because I hold certainly religious principles, I sued and I think I would win, you can’t trample on my, I would say God given and it’s in our constitution right the worship however I choose. We can’t do it, thanks. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Smith what purpose you raise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President to see if Senator Hise will yell to a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Heist do you yell? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon Senator Hise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You and I graduated with the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics so I know you can handle this series of questions if you will allow me Mr. President. Let’s talk about inverse operations, was the opposite operation of addition? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Subtract. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What's the opposite of multiplication? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow ups? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, Senator Smith I agree if you will just address the chair for every follow up question, we will go from there. Do you yell for follow up Senator? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What's the opposite operation of addition? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Subtraction. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator yelled. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Multiplication? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Division. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator yelled. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Square root? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Square. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Square, follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator yelled. [SPEAKER CHANGES] In order to integrate any equation, in order to perform the operation you must have two things… [0:05:00.4] [End of file…]
What are they? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m missing this question. If we can move ?? to the bill… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I want to remind the members of the rules, and let’s get on task here and move forward please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let’s keep our questions directly related to the bill at hand please, Senator Smith-Ingram. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If you have a follow-up - [SPEAKER CHANGES] Point well-taken, and it is related, if you’ll allow me to continue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, if your next question’s directly related to the bill, then we can continue with that question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ll conclude that. May I speak to the bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor to speak to the bill, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The answer to the last question is that you must have an upper limit and a lower limit. There must be a boundary. Now I am not an attorney. I am a mathematician, I am a math teacher and I am a science teacher. I am a physics teacher who teaches both intelligent design, creationism, as well as the big bang theory. I’m a mathematician who understands that when you evaluate any object, you must do it within boundaries. Because I am not a lawyer, I want to speak to the floodgates that this bill appears to open up from the perspective of a layperson. The Fourth Circuit Court and we have already maintained here that knowledge is a fundamental right. All fundamental rights, as my legal counterparts have shared, are subject to strict scrutiny. As we are debating this bill, we must look at how we cannot overcome that hurdle of sharing a compelling government interest. I will tell you what I’m interested in. In my district, we just had a merger of District 6a and 6b into one district, and that’s District 6. In that merger, two judges were terminated, so now there are four judges who have to do the job of six judges. I have spoken to several judges; I have spoken to several magistrates. I love the accommodation of the bill, Senator Berger, and that it will allow… if all the magistrates should recuse themselves, it would allow marriages, civil ceremonies to still be performed by the district court judge or the chief judge, but the accommodation is problematic in that it creates a scheduling nightmare. The judges are already overburdened with responsibilities, and you’re asking four judges now who are doing the jobs of six judges, and should all the magistrates recuse themselves, now they have to add this responsibility of performing same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. The efficiency and the amount of cost has not been evaluated within the limits. The last thing that strikes me about this bill is that as a licensed or ordained clergywoman, Senator Tarte, who is firm in my faith beliefs and my tenants, Senator Cook, I believe that my religious freedom, my religious beliefs should be respected, but the person that I served always extended himself to those who were in the marginalized communities. He went out to those who society and the law said were wrong. He spoke to a woman one day who the law said broke a law and deserved to be stoned, but yet he extended himself to her. I believe that in religious freedom, we have that right, but there are also others who have rights that we need to accommodate, and for many reasons, this bill does not do that. I will not be supporting this bill, not because I don’t believe a magistrate has the right to recuse themselves, not because I don’t believe in same-sex marriages. I oppose this bill because I believe that we do not try to
Legislate separate but equal because it's inherently constitutional. I thank god for judges in a black robe for taking the power to pass that bill in 1954 that has given me a lot of rights today and last but not least, we do not codify discrimination. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Speak to the bill [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise has the floor. Speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. I'd appreciate to give something more than mathematical interpretation on this bill that's coming forward. One of those things that I do bring with me is my faith. I want to speak on issues here and I want to get to the heart of what I think this bill is about. I think to say it's about gay marriage is a cover. This is about people of faith being driven out of public service. This is about saying "Because of the faith I have, I can't serve". I'll be honest with you, I had a lot of conversations, represent six counties with clerk reports, registry deeds. While they were celebrating in Buncombe County when this came down, I didn't know that the courthouse would open the next day in several counties. This has broad support across North Carolina. I had counties where all the Magistrates said they were leaving office because they refused to do it and because they've been targeted. They've been told by couples that they were going to be the one who was forced to marry them. We have reached a dangerous place in this decision. There's examples all through the scripture where the government is asking people to bend their knee to service to ??, to service to idols...to something inconsistent with their faith. We have singled out here Magistrates and Assistant Register of Deeds and said 'we have given you some protection from that." There may come a day where, because of my faith, I'm not allowed to serve in the general assembly or in my other capacities. That's the direction I see society moving in as a whole but I will take every step and make every fight along that way to make sure that that is not the direction we continue to go in as a government. This is one step in that direction - to offer those protections but I believe firmly that any individual of faith should have the right to express their religions feelings and beliefs and not be imposed upon by government, even when that government is their employer, to give up on what they believe and bow their knee to something they do not believe. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] See if Senator Hise will yield for a request. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, I believe based upon the information I heard ?? yesterday that there are 675 Magistrates in the state but there's only been about 7 or 8 that have basically said they would not participate in these gay marriage ceremonies. Now you mention there had been a mass exodus or a mass exodus is on the wing of occurring. Could you tell me more about that? Because I've not heard about a mass exodus. I've only heard about 7 or 8 individuals which is a very very minute number. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Please Respond [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. President. They have not left their jobs. They have continued and I have said to their supervisors...they have supervisors who have said they will not yet accept resignations on that behalf but I also say that they've been told that protections are coming. We made very sure to say this was an early bill. Why? Because those protections are coming for individuals that they cannot be discriminated against or terminated or charged legally, as the AOC has indicated, for making those positions and because we are offering those protections, there are many who have not left the position and have not been faced with that situation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, could I ask Senator Hise an additional question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hise, you mention religious conviction as being the basis for not performing gay marriages in particular but suppose a person's religious conviction said they were opposed to interracial marriages and I know of a church that... [END]
Fact believes in that. I mean, would that be a basis for someone not to marry an interracial couple? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I'm unaware of the tenet of faith. That's not a tenet of my faith that racial couples should not be allowed to marry, interracial couples should not be allowed to marry, but I would say that the state may have an obligation to perform any marriage that comes through depending on how that's defined by law, but to force someone to do something on that basis is something I would object to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can I ask Senator Hise just one further question for clarification. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield, I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So, Senator Hise, you're saying that in terms of if someone's religion said interracial couples could not marry, you would object to that, but do you believe that this bill would basically allow someone to opt out? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think this. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe this bill allows for magistrates to say that they will perform no marriages for a time period of at least six months under any circumstances, under any conditions, and they begin that at whatever time they choose, but they may perform no marriages and I believe the determination for that is not given. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, just to speak briefly on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, you have the floor to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think what we have here is a situation where there are 675 magistrates in this state, at best there are only 7 or 8 who are basically indicate an objection. We should not be pandering to 7 or 8 individuals. I hear about polls. If you take in polls 40, 50 years ago about school desegregation or what took place in terms of the integration of public facilities, the vast majority of people would've been opposed to it, but the law basically stated that we had to honor those laws if they were passed either by Congress or by the Supreme Court through the judicial decisions. What we have here is really the 4th circuit has spoken, soon the Supreme Court will speak. Underneath equal protection clause, gay couples will be sanctioned the right to marriage regardless of how we may feel about this individually or as a matter of religious convictions. We should not be here today at this hour trying to circumvent the law. We should be about upholding the law. More importantly, we should be about enforcing the US Constitution because the US Constitution is the guiding light, it's the beacon. It is indeed that force which gives each of us the rights that we exercise in this chamber today but throughout our lives. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we have any further discussion or debate? Senator Van Dyne, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Van Dyne, you have the floor to speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. What I know about the people in my district is that faith is at the core of their being, and I will defend with every follicle of my being their right to practice their religion as they choose, but this bill is not about religion, it is about fairness. It is about equal protection under the law, and is about working for a North Carolina that looks forward towards a future where everyone in North Carolina has the opportunity to live their fullest lives. Courts throughout this country have ruled that it is wrong to legitimize discrimination, and yet that is what we are about to do today. I represent a district that is home to thousands of same sex couples. Families that I know personally and are on my mind today as I speak. These are people who live every day as second class citizens and all they want is something that you and I utterly take for granted, the freedom to love who you love and be who you are. Denying them the right to live their lives as their true selves is not only wrong, but it stifles our ability to realize our potential and it is time for us to turn this page and say once and for all that North Carolina is moving forward, that we are open for business and we welcome unreservedly everyone who wants to help us build a better future for ourselves and for our children. Come visit our beaches and mountains and bring your family and friends. Looking to expand a business? We wanna help you be successful. We cannot be that North Carolina if at the same time we allow anyone to feel like they're second class.
...and that is what this bill does: it says loud and clear that discrimination is alive and well in NC and it has the stamp of approval of the legislature. That is a statement that has consequences for everyone in NC. I remember in 2008, I was at a conference. There was a board member of my local community foundation, and there was a presentation by Hugh McColl, a former CEO of the Bank of America. And someone asked him, I’m sure you all remember 2008, our economies were tanking, but there was one relatively bright spot and that was the city of Charlotte. And the first question Mr. McColl was asked was what is different about Charlotte? And without hesitation, without any hesitation at all, he said that in the 1960s, when the rest of the south was in turmoil of segregation, that Charlotte [SPEAKER CHANGE] Sen. Rucho, the purpose of your ayes? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Inquiry to the chair, is this relevant to this bill? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator, if you will, I think it is relevant, Senator, but Senator, if you will keep it focused on the bill, thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Yes, sir. What he said without hesitation was that in 1960, when the rest of the south was in turmoil over integration, the city of Charlotte made the decision to embrace it. They embraced diversity and that made it possible for the banking industry to come to Charlotte. What we do today, might point is that what we do today has consequences. We cannot be the NC of opportunity, but at the same time we allow anyone to feel second class, so it is my hope that reason and justice will prevail and that we will move forward together to address the issues we were sent here to address -- jobs, education, providing opportunity for North Carolina. And that’s why I urge you to vote no on this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Newton, for what purpose your ayes? [SPEAKER CHANGE] To speak to the bill for the first time. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Newton, you have floor, speak to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you, Mr. President. Well, in the words of one of my favorite and one of the greatest presidents, there you go again. Sen. Van Duyn, I want to compliment you, in a very short period of time you have become a very accomplished debater. You’ve stepped right into the shoes of Sen. Nesbitt and before you Sen. Stein, and you’re very disciplined about your talking points, and very disciplined about what they always did, which was to take whatever legislation we were debating and read into it all kinds of things that aren’t there...and follow your talking points so that the newsroom observer and other media will keep printing what you want, which is to make the bill something that it’s not. You were in committee yesterday and you heard my explanation, and you questioned me quite a bit. And I appreciate those comments because I think a debate is very helpful. I think it’s important that we have an opportunity to educate the public about what this bill is actually about and not what you say it’s about, but what it’s actually about. You talk about upholding the constitution, the constitution of NC I presume you also mean; you talk about the US Constitution, oh yeah, I forgot, that includes the First Amendment, the free exercise of religion. That’s what this bill is about. I’ve heard all kinds of nonsense about can you decide not to do interracial marriages. That’s a great talking point. Sen. McKissick, you probably weren’t aware, but I’ve actually litigated a number of Title VII cases dealing with race discrimination, representing African Americans. I won them all too. I know a little something about Title VII. You and I had a discussion yesterday about the constitutionality of this bill, Senate Bill 2. You agreed with me it was constitutional, didn’t you? I mean you can speak to...
and later if you disagree, but that's what I recall of the conversation, and I think that's good legal authority. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton, when we get done with this, for fairness to Senator McKissick, who's already spoken twice on the bill, if you'll ask him that question, so he can [SPEAKER CHANGES] I certainly will, so that he can [SPEAKER CHANGES] You answer incorrectly [SPEAKER CHANGES] If I can maintain my speaking the bill if, to clear it up, I'll ask him that question now? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator McKissick, do you yield, if you don't mind? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I do yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you recall that that was the conversation we had yesterday, and you agreed that this was a constitutional bill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think what I indicated in my remarks to you, and perhaps even to others: that was a very cleverly designed bill that would essentially lawfully allow discrimination. But it potentially was ??saying?? judicial scrutiny. I do believe there is some over-breadth issues. When I say over-breadth, it would cover not only those situations involving those who might have religious convictions relating to gay marriage, but also those who might be opposed to interracial marriages and things of that sort. So the potential for over-breadth was there, but I do believe that it was very cleverly designed and I did acknowledge that. Absolutely. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. May I presume [SPEAKER CHANGES] You can continue, Senator Newton. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator McKissick for that. That was, with all due respect, that was a little different than I recalled it, but I didn't remember hearing words about discrimination in there when we were talking about it, but I certainly heard it today. And so I'd like to address that a little bit further. The bill, if you read it, is just as plain as day that these magistrates don't get to treat anybody differently. It actually makes sure that the wink-and-nod game that might otherwise go on in a magistrate's office, can't occur. Ultimately, if a homosexual couple wants to be married in a civil ceremony, they're gonna get a marriage. They're not gonna get denied under this bill. There probably are some people who would like to say this is an aberrant activity. There are some that would like to say that this is a violation of good moral perspective, and they would like to deny it. But this bill actually prevents that from happening. There's a real big difference between homosexuals seeking to get married in a civil ceremony and interracial couples. Number one, we have a Supreme Court case, Loving, that I believe was decided in 1976, and it was decided on, if I remember correctly, the Civil Rights Act. And, Senator Smith-Ingram, I know you're familiar with the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and, but what I would like to remind you is, is that there is nothing in that Civil Rights Act that says sexual orientation is a protected class. Race is. Religion is. But not sexual orientation. Until the good judges tell us that we have to read something into the law that's not there, or until Congress passes an amendment to the Civil Rights Act instructing us that sexual orientation is a protected class, there's a big difference there. And I actually am quite disgusted based upon the clients that I've had in the past that do suffer real discrimination based upon their race, that you would want to lump the two together. You're born in your race. I don't know about sexual orientation. What I heard yesterday in committee and on this point is that folks would like to inquire into the sincerity of someone who wants to recuse them self. Surely, surely, surely the back row is not suggesting that these magistrates should be put on the witness stand and cross-examined as to what their sincere religious beliefs are. Surely that is not what the left would stand for.
ESPFIP [0:00:00.0] …Surely that is now what the Democratic Party would stand for. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryan what purpose you has? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton, would you ask Senator Newton if you will yell for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton would you yelled or would you prefer to finish your statement? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President I prefer to finish my remarks and then I will be happy to yell Senator Bryan’s question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, I maybe finish. Surely, that is not what the left intends to do is to cross examine and put I think jokingly but quite seriously suggested you don’t mean to water boat these people and get what they really think and what they really believe. Folks we are gonna have a very serious task before that begins here, I didn’t choose and I don’t think most of the members of this body or most of the members of society choose to have this debate because the vast majority of us thought that the definition of marriage was pretty clear we thought that it was pretty clear and above, we thought that 3,000 years of society made it pretty clear, we thought that 300 years of these colonies in this country made it clear, most of us thought that our founding fathers could have never conceived something like this but yet as I said before we got some wise old judges that no better than us, they are no better than our founding fathers, they are no more than God, Senator Smith-Ingram my word did say that you are referring to also told that women who go forth and send no more. It’s not my place to judge whether or not these folks are right with their maker that’s not up to me that’s up to him, I don’t judge that, my job here and our job here is to decide how we are going to handle these issues? How are we going to balance? What we know to be our first amendment rights? What we know is right either in our personal loves or citizens of this great republic? The rights that were endowed by our creator which include our religious freedom, how are we going to balance that? Those that oppose this bill and their answer is they saw the Magistrate and the registered deeds that don’t want to participate ___??[03:19] comply, comply or prosecute you because that’s what IOC said comply or we will prosecute you, is that right, is that what this body would stand for? I challenge everybody on the back row and those who want to vote against this bill to think about that, where is it go next, where is it go next, who is next to be told and stand forward and kiss the rain? Who is next? The Backer, the florist, we have already seen that, we have to find a path forward; we must find a way forward. I will not stand oddly by and watch the demands of a few, insist that a particular Magistrate must perform a weeding that he or she strongly believes that, I will not standby enforce that to happen. You on the back row… [0:05:00.3] [End of file…]
apparently seem to think that that is what's supposed to happen. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, did you want to ask a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Mister President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Netwon, do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton I wanna make sure I understand this, correctly in terms of how the bill works. My understanding is, that, Senator Foushee and I could show up, to get married, and that a magistrate could refuse to serve us giving first notice of his requests or need for a recusal at that time to whoever the higher up would be. And that that could happen - and receive the protection of this bill, am I correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, as we've discussed before, the magistrate who is faced with this for the first time may or may not have realized before that moment, that that is something that they're not gonna be able to do. They may have gone to church on Sunday, and heard Senator Tarte over there, explain how marriage is between one man and one woman. And, may have decided, upon laying sleeplessly at night in their bed, Sunday night, that that wasn't something that they could deal with. And then, then they were shocked! When, low and behold, they'd never come in the door before, and now they're faced with it. And they feel that hand, on their shoulder, saying no, that's not right, and you shouldn't do it. So, yes, they certainly at that moment, under this bill, are allowed to say - You know what? I'm just gonna get out of doing marriages all together. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President, follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton do you yield? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So, I thank you for saying that. So it is, true, that it is possible, that citizens, presenting for marriage can be refused service at the time they present, based on the provisions of this bill and that worker would be protected. That is possible. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, mister president. Actually no, I don't, I don't know that that is the case at all. I'm not aware of any counties, that just have walk-up service like a McDonald's counter to, just perform marriages. I have a friend, who I talked to after the committee yesterday, who had a civil ceremony. And I asked him, I said, when you went to the magistrate to get married, did you just show up, or did you call, and ask, when do they do marriages? And he said, oh, I called to find out, and most of the counties around the state don't do that, now some I guess do, but it's.. I'm sure it varies, it varies in every county. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant.. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President, one more follow-up.. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do you yield, Senator? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I yield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I thought we were on the same page. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Apparently not. [SPEAKER CHANGES] When you answered my first question, now you're duckin and dodgin me. My point was, and I wanted your agreement that, under this bill, a magistrate could decide to recuse him or herself, at the same time as a member of the public was presenting for service, so it is possible that that discrimination could happen at that time if the magistrate doesn't decide to recuse until the person presents. I'm not talking about whether they call or not, or, or how often you can get married, but it is likely, or it is possible, that that could happen under this bill. The bill does not prohibit that. So, I'm challenging your statement that this does not discriminate against anybody or limit their service. It could limit their service in that particular situation, correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mister President. Senator Bryant, I'm not a witness under oath that you can cross-examine, and, in order to make your point, I'm very familiar with that tactic, employing it regularly in the courtroom. The answer to your question is is that no, a couple that presents themselves can't be discriminated against. As you read the bill, in the plain language, ultimately, the chief district court judge, if nobody else can perform the marriage, has to perform the marriage. There is no discrimination involved in this process at all. What you're trying to suggest is, that somehow our magistrates offices are required to provide 24-7, walk-up service, you get married like I'm ordering a big mac. And that's not how it works. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mister President, can I speak a second time? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, you have the floor to speak a second time to the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Newton, I feel like..
You’re being disingenuous because in your first answer you acknowledge that a citizen can be refused service under this bill at the time they present themselves. And that leaves us open to accusations of it being discriminatory as it is applied. And that is the big loophole in this scheme that you’ve come up with, that you refuse to acknowledge, even though you acknowledged it fully in your first answer. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Smith, the purpose of your aye? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Mr. President, to speak to the bill for a second time. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator, you have the floor to speak to the bill a second time. [SPEAKER CHANGE] As I’m analyzing the comments that were shared, and I’ll have to say last week someone was offended, I won’t call any names, but today, I am offended. I think that it was distasteful, some of the comments that were made by you, Senator Newton. Let us be reminded of what this bill is really about; it’s not an argument about a protected class. This is not a protected class argument. I’m not an attorney, but even I know that. And the savior that I serve, before he told the young woman to go and sin no more, he said he who is without sin cast the first stone. We must stop playing like we are God and we have all of the right answers. Looking at the totality of the scripture, look at the totality of this bill. No one has done the--maybe you added, maybe you subtracted, maybe you multiplied and divided. You can’t do the calculus, but no one has done the accounting. How much is this gonna cost taxpayers? How much scheduling conflict is this going to create for the judges who must now perform marriages for everyone for a six month period of a time following the recusal of all of the magistrates? And what I’m simply sharing is that don’t stop at the preamble of the constitution of NC. Go even further to Article 1, Section 5, which states that we will not pass a law that subverts the federal government. This is a you threw the ball at me, you panel of judges on the Fourth Circuit Court, so let me throw the ball back at you. This is not a game. This is people’s lives and this involves the fundamental rights that people have that we are depriving them of. And we’re not doing it in a way that is even accommodating or efficient. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator, you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Speak on the bill. I don’t think anything anybody says from--actually, I don’t think anything anybody said from 10 o’clock until now has changed anybody’s mind. And I don’t think anything that I’m going to say is going to change anybody’s mind. And so I don’t, I don’t know that I can offer anything new, but just a couple of observations: First, anyone in NC who is entitled to be married, pursuant to NC law, to NC court decision or decision will be able to get married in NC if this bill passes. So all of the discussion about discrimination and not allowing people to get married, that’s not this bill. One of the interesting things that I’ve learned, when I first came here, I practiced law for a number of years and I was, I was accustomed to if I asked the question and the question really didn’t have anything to do with what the case was about, the judge would call me down on that. That isn’t happening here. It’s a little more free wheeling and it needs to be a little more free wheeling, but the reality is that this bill does not prevent anybody from getting married, and saying that it does doesn’t change that fact. The other thing is there’s been a lot of discussion about how this is not the main thing we ought to be working on. And I know there’s a lot of talk about that, but if we’re not about holding up the rights guaranteed by our constitution in this body, then all the other stuff
Eventually it's not worth very much. We are all a nation of laws. I think that's one of the things that distinguishes us from those other nations in the world for the most part and those other nations and societies that came before us. So yes, we have to respect the law, and this bill does that. We are also a nation of people that started in many respects with folks that came here in order to be able to freely exercise their religious beliefs. Those principles are shrived in our founding documents, and i wasn't there and none of us were, but I heard the argument of the first amendment is first amendment. I don't know if one outweighs the other, but that is the point of this bill. we are not saying that the first amendment outweighs any other right that might exist. What we are saying is that there should be an accommodation when there is a conflict between rights. And when there is that conflict. One of the reasons why we have legislative bodies and one of the reasons that we exist is that our job is to tell people where the lines are. We are about drawing the lines, and sometime drawing the line is a very difficult thing to do, because there are arguments on both sides, and the law is pretty clear that we have an obligation as if we are going to be a nation of laws to provide a reasonable accommodation when there is the kind of conflict that we see here. That's all this bill is trying to do. It's all for that reasonable accommodation. Could the line be drawn differently? Yes. Could be put somewhere else? Obviously. The concern that many have about whether or not someone could get married or not get married, again that is not this bill. The concern that many have that religious belief should be protected should honored, should recognized, isn't this bill, and isn't an important part of this bill. So this is something that I think recognizes the current reality of the current legal situation recognizes the existence of rights that people have understood that exists in this country for a very long period of time and tries to draw a balance, tries to draw the balance that will enable people to live their lives as they would like to but would not have the government forcing them to do something that's against their core beliefs. I urge you to vote for the bill.[SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further discussion Aye. Hearing none. Question for the senate of the question of passes of the community substitute sending bill two on second reading. All in favor vote aye. All opposed vote no. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting recorder recording the vote. Forward. Forward. Center forward. Aye. 32 having voted in the affirmative and 16 in the negative. Community substitute sending bill two passes on the second reading. The object would right third time. Be further discussion of Aye. Hearing none for the question for the senate so passes the community substitute center bill on third reading. All in favor say Aye. Aye. Oppose. No. The Ayes have it.
passes its third reading. It will be sent to the House. Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, a motion please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca has the floor for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Senate Joint Resolution 109, currently committee on rules. I ask that it be recalled from rules. That is Joint Session State of the Judiciary. I ask that it be recalled from rules and placed on the calendar for immediate consideration. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection so ordered. Senate Joint Resolution 109, Clerk will read. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Joint Resolution 109, Joint Session State of the Judiciary. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca’s recognized to speak to the resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Members, it is what he just read. We’ll have a joint session with the House at the House at I believe it’s March the 4th. Is that correct? Yes, March the 4th. I recommend it to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 109 on its second reading. All in favor vote “aye”. Opposed vote “no”. Five seconds will be allowed for the voting. Clerk will record the vote. 48 having voted in the affirmative and 0 in the negative, Senate Joint Resolution 109 passes its second reading without objection and will be read a third time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] North Carolina General Assembly enacts. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any discussion or debate? Hearing none, the question before the Senate is the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 109 on its third reading. All in favor will say “aye”. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, “no”. The ayes have it. Senate Joint Resolution 109 passes its third reading. It will be sent to the House. Senator Clark, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Explanation of my vote on Senate Bill 2. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, that’s a point of personal privilege. We’ll do it in just one minute, soon as we get to notices and announcements. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, a couple more motions, if I may. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Apodaca has the floor for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senate Resolution 108, Freshmen Will Be Seen and Not Heard… I’m sorry, wrong bill. Senate Bill 108, move crossover deadline to third reading. I think it’s on for tomorrow; we’ll move that to March the 2nd session. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection so ordered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, additional bill please. Senate Bill 19, Revenue Laws Technical Changes. I think we heard second reading today. Let’s move it to Monday night also. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Without objection so ordered. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President, announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One second, Senator. Let me make sure we got everything else done on here and we’ll get on there. We are under notices and announcements. Go ahead, Senator Rucho. You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President. Just to remind everybody that the Senate Finance Committee meeting will be held at 1 o’clock today. There will be a lot of discussion during this session dealing with economic development tools. This will be very important for everyone to attend and we will extend it open to members that aren’t in the Finance Committee to join us to try and get some good background on this before we make some decisions about it. So that’s in 544 today at 1 o’clock. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. President? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Brock, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Brock, you have the floor for an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Agriculture will meet. We may be in 643 since Senator Rucho has precedent over 544. We’ll hear from the new Secretary of DENR and some issues relating to regulatory environment and the changes we made over the last couple of sessions. Hope you can join. It will be 10 minutes after session. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Clark, you have the floor for a point of personal privilege, explanation of vote. [SPEAKER CHANGES] With regard to Senate Bill 2, I voted in support of Senate Bill 2 because I believe that it protects the religious liberties of our citizens without discriminating against the rights of any of our citizens to engage in the civil marriage ceremonies. I understand that there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and I’ve listened very carefully to the passionate arguments put forth by colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the many constituents who have called, emailed or spoken to me in person to register their respective positions. As I believe that all in these chambers are, I am deeply committed to equal rights and fair treatment for all North Carolinians. After thoughtful consideration, I am persuaded that Senate Bill 2 accomplished two important tasks with regards to the poor performance of some
Ceremonies in the state of North Carolina. Senate Bill 2 ensures the rights of all couples to be married while protecting the religious freedoms of individuals with sincerely held beliefs. Absolutely no one will be prevented from being married in a civil ceremony by the passage of Senate Bill 2 nor will their efforts to be married in such a ceremony be abridged by Senate Bill 2. Most citizens if not all in the state as a result of Senate Bill 2 will find that their ability to seek civil ceremonies has actually increased by the bill's mandate that all counties set aside at least 10 hours a week for any couple to be duly married by a magistrate judge. Some counties don't provide that protection as we speak today. Senate Bill 2 ensures that the religious liberties of those with deeply held convictions on the issue of marriage would be protected, that the path is reasonable and non-discriminatory measures, and that no one seeking civil ceremonies will be treated any different from anyone else seeking such a ceremony. We, the highest legislative body in the state have not only the authority to modify the job responsibilities of the given position when prudent, we have an obligation to protect our religious liberties in ways that do not prevent our citizens from receiving the services to which they are entitled. Senate Bill 2 does an artful job of this by placing the responsibility of this particular service with the office not a specific individual and then ensuring that any citizen will be provided that service during more hours than provided under current law. I'm satisfied that Senate Bill 2 is a fair and reasonable compromise to an important issue facing our state and therefore I have registered a yes vote without reservation. My parents experienced much discrimination over the course of their life, even during my lifetime. I as well have experienced much discrimination over the course of my life. I know discrimination when I see it. This is not discrimination. If I thought it was, I most certainly would not have voted in support of this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. Any further notices or announcements. Senator Rydell for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I rise for the purpose of a personal privilege. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You have the floor Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I rise today to honor a North Carolina native son and Charlottier, Charlie Siefert, who passed away on February the 3rd as the first black person to play on the Professional Golf Association. Mr. Siefert was a trailblazer. He is credited with inspiring generations of black golfers, specifically Tiger Woods who often referred to him as the grandfather he never had. Charlie Siefert was a man of humble beginnings who began caddying on golf courses in Charlotte at the age of 13. He began playing professionally at age 27 in 1949 and after decades of playing segregated tournaments around the country, became a member of the PGA in 1961. While Mr. Siefert's dedication, courage and position as a first earned him many accolades, he maintained that all he ever wanted to do was to play golf. Despite harassments and abuse, Mr. Siefert remained steadfast and enjoyed a long career in the sport. His career and legacy served to prove that if you work hard and persevere, your gifts will make room for you. He is a credit to North Carolina and Charlotte and it is a great pleasure to honor him today. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. Any other notices or announcements? Senator Curtis, for what purpose do you rise? [SPEAKER CHANGES] An announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Curtis you have the floor for an announcement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The workforce committee scheduled for 12 o'clock today is canceled and rescheduled for next Wednesday at 12 o'clock. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further business to come before the Senate? If not, the chair recognizes Senator Berger for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. President, if I could make an announcement before the motion. Members of the Senate, I don't know that we can place a whole lot of confidence in the weatherpersons that are telling us what's going to happen, but it appears that they seem to be of like mind across the spectrum
That we're going to get some bad weather in. So I know there are a number of folks who no disrespect to the city of Raleigh would prefer not to spend the weekend in Raleigh. And so what we're going to do is the motion I'm going to make is that we adjourn to Friday at two p.m. that will be a skeletal session. And then we will at that skeletal session have an adjournment to Monday at seven. We will have at least one bill on the calendar at that time the bill will be on for third reading that we pass second reading today. So, this will allow everyone hopefully to get home safely and hope you enjoy your weekend. Mr. President I move that the Senate do now adjourn subject to standard stipulation set forth in Senate rule 24.1 and receipt of committee reports to reconvene on Friday February 27 2015 at two pm. [Speaker Changes] The motion is the Senate do now adjourn subject to the standard stipulations to reconvene Friday February 27 at two pm seconded by Senator Newton. All in favor say aye. Oppose no. The aye's have it, Senate stands adjourned.