The Rev. Mark Harris announced on Thursday that he'll seek the Republican nomination to challenge North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan.

Harris is the senior pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church and the outgoing president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

He made his announcement to supporters gathered at a hotel outside Winston-Salem.

“When I look at the vacuum of leadership that's being seen at so many levels, there's a deep cry from people across our country for leaders to stand up,” Harris told the AP.

Last year, as North Carolina debated a successful amendment which makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize gay and lesbian couples with marriage or civil unions, the Baptist State Convention, under Harris' leadership, approved a resolution in support of the amendment.

The non-binding statement suggested that gay nuptials would hurt the family, children and North Carolina's reputation and “economic viability.” It also called on the state's churches to “pray faithfully against the legalization of same-sex marriages or marriage substitutes in American law.”

Harris told the Charlotte Observer that “From a biblical position, all I can do is state my position: I believe that homosexuality is a sin.”