Phil Berger

Judge dismisses challenge to N. Carolina gay-marriage law

A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to a North Carolina law that says magistrates with religious objections can refuse to marry same-sex couples.

The judge ruled the three couples who brought the case — two gay and one interracial — lacked legal standing to sue and lacked evidence showing they were harmed directly by the law that took effect in June 2015.

North Carolina and Utah are the only states currently enforcing such religious-recusal laws. About 5 percent of North Carolina's magistrates have filed recusal notices, which prevent them from officiating at all marriages — gay and heterosexual — for at least six months. The law also allows...