Gov. Pat McCrory formally vetoed a bill to exempt North Carolina magistrates on religious grounds from performing marriages, saying "we are a nation of laws," despite his personal opposition to gay marriage.
The official veto message was posted Friday morning, one day after the House voted 67 to 43 to pass Senate Bill 2.
The bill, which McCrory vetoed late Thursday, would allow magistrates and register of deeds employees to opt out of performing weddings if they have a religious objection, a response to workers who quit their jobs after same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina last year.
McCrory said those employees must uphold the law even if they disagree with it.
The bill now returns to the Senate and House, which can override the veto if three-fifths of both chambers agree to do so.
Thursday's House tally indicated that getting the required votes to override McCrory's veto might prove challenging for the Republican leadership.
About 61% of the legislators voting Thursday supported the bill, but 10 House members were absent or didn't vote. Of those, five are Republicans, four are Democrats, and one is an unaffiliated representative who's part of the GOP caucus.