Now that Gov. Pat McCrory has said he will veto Senate Bill 2 (“the magistrates bill”), all eyes turn back to legislators to see if they have the votes to override that veto.
Before we give that a quick look, let’s pause to applaud the governor for doing the right thing. The bill would allow magistrates and registers of deeds to not facilitate same-sex marriages, which are legal in North Carolina.
WRAL’s Matthew Burns and Laura Leslie reported that McCrory quickly announced he would veto the measure. “ ... no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath,” McCrory said in a statement. It’s common sense, and we’re glad to see McCrory exercise it.
Senate Republicans have enough votes to override the veto. In the House, though, the measure passed 67-43, with 10 members absent. If all 120 representatives are present for the override vote, bill supporters would need 72 votes (or three-fifths) to prevail.
Of the 10 absent members Thursday, four are Democrats and six are Republicans. If all voting representatives stick with their initial vote and the four Democrats vote to sustain the override, Republicans would need five of the six Republicans to override it. That’s no slam dunk. Four Republicans broke from their party to vote against the bill originally.
The six Republicans are Craig Horn, Linda Johnson, Donny Lambeth, Chris Malone, Paul Tine and Roger West. Expect heavy lobbying of those six to begin any moment now.
We also want to applaud two Mecklenburg Republicans – Charles Jeter of Huntersville and John Bradford of Cornelius – who voted against the bill. They understand that civil servants need to fulfill the duties of their job, whatever their personal views. -- Taylor Batten