Stam Announces "Religious Freedom" Legislation; Gay Rights Group Calls Foul

Jan 15, 2015

A North Carolina gay rights group is voicing concerns over news that a so-called “religious freedom” bill could be introduced by the state legislature.  Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro says the law wouldn’t be about religious freedom at all.  He says one goal would be to give magistrates a way to opt out of performing same-sex weddings – which are now legal in North Carolina.  And he says history has shown that businesses are opposed to these sorts of laws.

Chris Sgro: “Even proposing these measures is really problematic for recruiting and retaining young professionals in a state like North Carolina where that’s crucial.”

The legislator who announced the legislation was House Speaker pro tem Paul “Skip” Stam.  He defended the measure.

Paul Stam: “The operative language is the same language as is in the federal law that was passed about 10, 12 years ago and signed by President Clinton.  So I don’t think they really know what they’re talking about.”

Stam says the bill would be meant to stop the heavy hand of government from infringing on religious freedom.  He says there will be a legislative briefing on the subject January 28th.

***You can hear conversations with both Paul Stam and Chris Sgro by clicking the audio files above.***