A group which lobbied for passage of North Carolina's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples has vowed to stop Winston-Salem from recognizing the spouses of gay workers for the purpose of benefits.

After a federal appeals court which has jurisdiction over North Carolina upheld a decision striking down a similar ban in Virginia, Winston-Salem officials announced they would recognize the marriages of its gay and lesbian employees.

In an email to supporters, the North Carolina Values Coalition called the move “illegal.”

“Winston-Salem has absolutely no authority to take this step, but they are doing so because they have been embolden by the equally lawless actions of North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper when he announced that he would no longer defend our Marriage Amendment,” the group said.

“And, make no mistake, Winston-Salem's actions are illegal.”

The group vowed to “fight against the City of Winston-Salem's lawlessness.”

Winston-Salem is believed to be the first North Carolina city to take this step.