Three couples have revived their challenge against a North Carolina law that allows magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages on the basis of religious objections.
The couples filed an appeal on Monday with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, arguing that as taxpayers, they are entitled to challenge a law that accommodates the religious views of magistrates with the spending of taxpayer money.
The law allows for North Carolina’s magistrates to recuse themselves from officiating both same-sex and heterosexual marriages for at least six months. It also allows court clerks to deny marriage licenses should they have religious objections.
"It is the spending of tax dollars to elevate religion above the constitution, solely authorized by and occurring because of a legislative act, that gives Plaintiffs-Appellants standing to challenge" the unconstitutionality of the law, the lawsuit states.
Their challenge was dismissed in a federal district court in September. The lower court ruled that the couples could not sue because there was not enough evidence that the law brought harm.
The law was passed in June of 2015, despite North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's veto which was overridden by the General Assembly.