A North Carolina magistrate has stepped down rather than officiate over the weddings of gay and lesbian couples.

North Carolina began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples on Friday after a federal judge struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.

(Related: United Church of Christ cheers ruling striking down North Carolina's gay marriage ban.)

On Monday, Pasquotank Magistrate Gary Littleton refused to marry William Locklear and Randall Jackson. Locklear said Littleton told him that he could not perform the wedding due to his religious beliefs. The couple were married the following day by a different magistrate.

In a memo issued Wednesday, North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts general counsel Pamela Weaver directed magistrates to perform civil marriages regardless of sexual orientation or face suspension or dismissal from their jobs.

ABC affiliate WLOS reported that Gilbert Breedlove, one of three Swain County magistrates, would resign rather than follow the directive. Breedlove cited his religious beliefs in explaining his decision.