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Gov. McCrory Vetoes 'Ag-Gag' And Gay Marriage Exemption Bills

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed two bills this week that stirred controversy as they passed through the state legislature. 

House Bill 405- dubbed by opponents as an "ag-gag" bill- would have allowed businesses to sue employees who secretly recorded animal abuse or other illegal activity. The bill applied to farms, along with businesses like restaurants and daycare centers.

"The 'ag-gag' bill would have perpetuated animal abuse, and endangered workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees, and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply," said Nathan Runkle, President of Mercy for Animals.

In a statement, McCrory said he was "concerned that subjecting these employees to potential civil penalties will create an environment that discourages them from reporting illegal activities."

McCrory also vetoed the controversial Senate Bill 2, which exempted magistrate judges from performing marriage duties for same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. In a statement before his veto, McCrory said:

"I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself, opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I will veto Senate Bill 2."

Lawmakers would need a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber to override any gubernatorial veto. There are enough votes in the Senate to override a veto. However, in the House, 72 votes would be necessary for an override, and on Thursday 67 members of that chamber voted in support of Senate Bill 2.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
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