Clergy and advocates differed Wednesday whether over judicial officials are obligated by law to carry out civil same-sex marriages in North Carolina even if they object to gay marriage due to their religious beliefs.

Several people addressed a House judiciary panel charged with considering a Senate bill approved last week that would let magistrates and assistant and deputy registers of deeds refuse to carry out marriage duties with a "sincerely held religious objection."

The bill was filed by Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, to address the concerns of some magistrates who resigned after federal judges struck down in October a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Voters approved the amendment in a referendum in 2012.

No vote was taken on the measure Wednesday. Committee chairman Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, said afterward no decision had been made about how lawmakers would handle the bill moving forward.


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