Three plaintiffs have been added to a
faith-based challenge to North Carolina's ban on gay marriage.
The Central Conference of American
Rabbis (CCAR) and the Alliance of Baptists, as well as clergy from
All Souls Episcopal Cathedral in Asheville, have joined the lawsuit.
The Cleveland, Ohio-based United Church
of Christ (UCC) filed the federal lawsuit in March.
The plaintiffs, which also include
several gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry, argue that North
Carolina's 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples violates the First Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution. It is the first of the nearly 6 dozen marriage
equality cases filed nationwide to bring First Amendment religious
“A religious majority is passing
and/or sustaining marriage laws that suit their religious beliefs,
thus infringing on the free and equal access to marriage in the
public square for those in the religious minority on this issue,”
Alliance of Baptists President Michael Castle said in a statement.
The ban “precludes rabbis from
participating in one of the fundamental aspects of our Jewish
religious traditions with respect to a specific segment of their
congregations and communities,” CCAR Chief Executive Rabbi Steven
“Depriving rabbis of the freedom to
conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies in North Carolina stigmatizes
our religious beliefs and relegates many of our congregants and
community members to second-class status,” he added.