File - Cindy Bovee-Kemper (L) and Lisa Bovee-Kemper apply for a marriage license they knew they would be denied as part of the "We Do Campaign" in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in this file photo taken January 14, 2013.(REUTERS/Colleen Jenkins)
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Bumgarner is among the 31 of the state's 670 magistrates invoking the law. It exempts magistrates and certain workers in Register of Deeds offices from all marriage transactions – gay and heterosexual – for at least six months if they fill out a religious objection form. State lawmakers approved this opt-out procedure in June 2015 after several magistrates resigned, feeling the state court system would punish or fire them if they didn't officiate at gay marriages. While the magistrates took oaths to defend the constitution and carry out laws, some say they shouldn't have to ignore strongly-held religious views to do so.The law provides for a chief District Court judge or county Register of Deeds – both elected officials – to carry out marriage transactions if no one else is available.
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