Upholding state law is a public servant’s duty

Register of deeds swearing-in ceremony, March 1, 2011: “I, Drew Reisinger, do hereby solemnly swear that I will support and maintain … the Constitution and laws of North Carolina, not inconsistent therewith … .”

Asheville Citizen-Times article, April 22: “Reisinger, who by state law was forced to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples … has said on several occasions that he would be ‘honored’ to issue licenses if they become legal in North Carolina. … Reisinger acknowledged that he might lose some votes because of his support for marriage equality and his opposition to Amendment One. ‘This might hurt me politically, but I got into politics in the first place to take a stand for certain values and issues that I care about,’ Reisinger said. ‘I’m not afraid — I just feel I’m being true to myself.’”

Reisinger’s reason for entering politics — concerns for his own values, issues and loyalty to self — are misplaced in the register of deeds office, a position that does not set policy.

Upholding state law and the constitution is a public servant’s duty, not something that is forced on them. An officeholder who publicly espouses an opinion “inconsistent therewith” the state laws he swore to uphold has no place serving the public in any capacity.

— Keith Gibbons
Fairview

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