Church Sues N.C. to Perform Gay Marriage

    British couple Peter McGraith and David Cabreza show their wedding rings after their wedding at Islington Town Hall in London March 29, 2014. McGraith and Cabreza, who have been a couple for 17 years, married shortly after midnight on Friday, marking the culmination of a campaign to end a distinction many British gay couples say made them feel like second class citizens. REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR3J1YW

    Olivia Harris/Reuters

    The leadership body of the United Church of Christ joined a lawsuit on Monday suing North Carolina for the right to perform same-sex marriages. This is the first time the First Amendment's freedom of religion protections have been used in a lawsuit challenging a same-sex marriage ban. The clergy argue that in banning gay marriages, the state is violating their right to freely exercise religion. Rev. Joe Hoffman of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville said “My denomination authorizes me to perform these ceremonies,” but the state ban “denies my religious freedom by prohibiting me from exercising this right.”

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