Religious Leaders Sue North Carolina over Same-Sex Marriage Ban

In Depth

The United Church of Christ is the first national religious organisation to file suit against a state’s ban on same-sex marriage, claiming that North Carolina’s laws violate the liberal protestant denomination’s first amendment rights under the United States Constitution.

According to Donald C. Clark Jr., general counsel of the UCC, the legal argument pertains to the UCC’s right to practice its own religious views freely.

We didn’t bring this lawsuit to make others conform to our beliefs, but to vindicate the right of all faiths to freely exercise their religious practices.

However, the state is likely to fight the lawsuit in court. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has said that he supports marriage equality, but will defend state laws “when legal arguments exist.” Otherwise, Cooper, who is laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial run in 2016, remains mum on various lawsuits, of which the UCC’s suit is only one currently working its way through the courts.

You’re not going to hear me talk about the legality or constitutionality of any of these statutes that are under litigation. I think it’s important for me not to do that. However, I will engage in public policy discussions, and I want to do that.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, an organisation that supports marriage equality, claims that many clergy members have supported same-sex marriage efforts over the years, but that the UCC lawsuit is very unusual. He explained the argument against North Carolina’s law as “seeking to chill clergy that have different views.”

The extent to which North Carolina went to deny the freedom to marry wound up additionally discriminating on the basis of religion by restricting speech and the ability of clergy to do their jobs.

Of course, Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, which opposes same-sex marriage, does not see the lawsuit the same way as her peers in the United Church of Christ.

It’s both ironic and sad that an entire religious denomination and its clergy who purport holding to Christian teachings on marriage would look to the courts to justify their errant beliefs. These individuals are simply revisionists that distort the teaching of Scripture to justify sexual revolution, not marital sanctity.

Read the entire lawsuit on the UCC website.

Image via Shutterstock.

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