Elizabeth Eve and the Rev. Kathryn Cartledge, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, on Friday were arrested protesting North Carolina's gay marriage ban, the AP reported.

The WE DO Campaign by the gay rights group Campaign for Southern Equality includes 20 gay and lesbian couples requesting marriage licenses at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office in Asheville – considered one of North Carolina's most progressive cities.

(Related: North Carolina State Senator James Forrester calls Asheville a “cesspool.”)

On Friday, Eve and Cartledge refused to leave the county office building after a clerk had denied them a marriage license. The women were carted away in handcuffs and charged with second-degree trespassing. They were released later in the day.

“I feel so hopeful,” Cartledge said. “I feel so much hope for the future. Maybe it's the wind blowing outside, but I know that in my lifetime, before I die, I'll marry Elizabeth Eve.”

The women said they met at a homeless soup kitchen in Atlanta, Georgia and have been a couple for 30 years. They share two daughters, Mary Hart and Bess, and four grandchildren.

The campaign unfolds as voters in May will decide on a far-reaching amendment that would make it unconstitutional for North Carolina to recognize gay and lesbian couples with marriage, civil unions and possibly even domestic partnerships. (A video from the campaign is embedded in the right panel of this page.)