Federal judge dismisses challenge to North Carolina law allowing gay marriage discrimination

Three couples attempted to challenge a law allowing magistrates to refuse to marry gay couples, but were struck down when a federal judge upheld the North Carolina gay marriage law allowing discrimination Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn claimed the couples — two gay and one interracial — didn’t have the legal standing to sue and couldn’t prove they were directly negatively affected by the law, but did say it was possible for someone to suffer harm from the law. So, he technically didn’t rule on the legality of the law, but dismissed this specific challenge to it.

Since the law went into effect in June 2015, about 5 percent of magistrates in the state have refused to marry same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press. North Carolina is one of only two states with religious freedom laws of this kind still being enforced.

The three couples plan to repeal Wednesday’s ruling to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and their lawyers have already filed the notice.