Number of North Carolina officials refraining from performing marriages increases

The number of North Carolina magistrates refusing to perform weddings has more than doubled in recent weeks.

The state court system says it's received 32 notices from magistrates since a law took effect June 11 allowing court officials who for religious reasons oppose gay marriage to opt out of performing all marriages.

The law exempts court officials with a "sincerely held religious objection" and is designed for those opposing gay marriage.

The law also gave the recusal option to some register of deeds workers issuing marriage licenses. Elected officials would perform the duties as a last resort.

Sen. Phil Berger sponsored the bill. Berger says the law is probably preventing situations like the one in Kentucky, where a clerk has refused to issue licenses. Utah has a similar recusal law.