The Rev. Neil Patrick Carrick has filed
a federal lawsuit challenging Michigan's ban on gay marriage.
The suit filed Monday names Governor
Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette as defendants.
Carrick told The
Detroit News that the state's ban violates the First
Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
He said that his religious freedom is being violated because he is
not allowed to conduct same-sex and plural marriages.
“Churches should have the right to
marry who they want to marry,” said Carrick, 49. “I've been told
by others that 'we would love to marry [gays and lesbians] but we
can't because we would be breaking the law.”
“The state of Michigan does not have
the right to tell us what to do in our church,” he added.
Under Michigan law, marrying a same-sex
couple is a crime punishable by up to a $500 fine.
“Michigan officials create
discrimination and potential prosecution of private conduct between
consenting adults without requiring law enforcement officials to show
harm to society or those involved,” Carrick said.
Carrick is a former pastor with the
Cleveland-based United Church of Christ, which last year challenged
North Carolina's ban.