Elections official resigns over gay marriage ban

By MICHAEL BIESECKER | January 11, 2012 | 12:15 PM EST

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The elections director in socially conservative Harnett County has resigned, saying she could not in good conscience preside over the upcoming vote on a proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage.

Sherre Toler says her romantic relationship with a man of a different race cemented her belief that the civil rights of couples in love should not be put to a popular vote.

Elections workers are discouraged from expressing personal opinions about issues on the ballot so that they don't feed a perception that those counting the votes are biased. The 51-year-old registered Democrat had the job 11 years.

Toler told The Associated Press her Jan. 3 resignation will enable her to speak out about an issue she is passionate about and work with groups seeking to defeat the May referendum.