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Christian Church Sues NC For Violating Its Religious Liberty By Banning Same-Sex Marriage

by David Badash on April 28, 2014

in Marriage,News,Religion

Post image for Christian Church Sues NC For Violating Its Religious Liberty By Banning Same-Sex Marriage

In 2012, the people of North Carolina voted to write discrimination directly into their constitution by banning same-sex marriage. Today in federal court, one Christian denomination is suing the state for violating its First Amendment rights to religious liberty as a result of implementing that ban.

Amendment One, which was pushed onto the people of North Carolina in an ugly and lie-filled battle fueled by the National Organization For Marriage, makes it illegal for ministers or pastors or any faith leader to even perform a same-sex commitment ceremony, even though it would have no legal meaning. Rev. Emily C. Heath of the United Church of Christ, the group suing the state, quoting the law writes that “any member of the clergy who officiates at a same-sex marriage in the state may be sentenced to ’120 days in jail and/or probation and community service.’”

In other words, the state of North Carolina is telling clergy that it is illegal to pray in the manner in which they see fit.

For those of us who are people of faith, marriage is more than just a civil ceremony. It is also a religious one. And under the current law, even if a member of the clergy is only intending to perform a religious ritual, and not to legally marry a same-sex couple, they could be arrested.

In other words, North Carolina state law is making it a crime for some Christians to freely exercise their religion.

We often hear that religious liberty is under attack in our country. Often the fact that same-sex couples are allowed to marry is cited as evidence of this attack. But, as this law makes clear, the religious liberty of same-sex couples and their officiating clergy is what is truly being blatantly attacked. This should outrage anyone who claims to believe in religious freedom.

The long list of plaintiffs includes Betty Mack and Carol Taylor, a couple int heir 70s who have been together more than 40 years.

The United Church of Christ has also launched a campaign surrounding their lawsuit, called, I Do Support Religious Freedom.

Here’s Rev. Geoffrey A. Black of the United Church of Christ:

3:14-cv-00213 #1 by Equality Case Files

Image, top, by Lori Cipot via Twitter

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LOrion April 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

YES YES! Brilliant… NOW when will some sue the FED GOVT too!


Qwerty50 April 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Bravo! Since when does religious freedom only pertain to those so-called christian groups that support discrimination? To hear the anti-gay groups talk, you'd think that was the case.

Since59 April 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Bravo Rev. Black!!! I'm not a Christian but I have met and befriended a number of UCC folks and can safely say they are some of the nicest most welcoming people I've ever met. They are one of the few organized Christian religions that practice the true teachings of Christ.

Bose_in_SP_MN April 28, 2014 at 7:19 pm

I started arguing a decade-plus back that anti-gay people of faith were marking off LGBT-affirming faiths as untenable, utterly unworthy of respect in the fashion offered (or at least intended) by the 1st Amendment. Named a blog after it (A Tenable Belief), but wasn't an effective blogger.

Kudos to the UCC in NC… it's so easily unconstitutional for the state to criminalize certain acts of worship by pastors.

Meri70 April 29, 2014 at 5:37 am

This Is Awesome, I am so Shocked to see a Christian leader Taking the LGBT side of things though, have not seen this at all. all you see is the Anti- LGBT christian leaders out there. they are the reason i left christianity in the first place, and wont go back, But this church UCC in NC yall are awesome.

Anonymous99999 May 4, 2014 at 1:45 pm

This is one of those situations that is hard to judge. The UCC church has its right to religious freedom regardless if the teachings are of God's will. They can call their same sex unions what they want, but God will still not approve of them since it is against his will; therefore, the UCC church cannot approve the sacrament of marriage to same sex couples. This is another example of churches being tailor made to people's personal and political views to attract more followers. They preach the word of man rather than the word of God. God loves all people including homosexuals, but still hates the sin of homosexuality: this is what churches should preach regarding this issue.

totripoli May 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

God still hates the sins of eating pork, shaving, and having tattoos as well, right?
They are all listed as EQUAL "abominations" – but never actually sins – in Leviticus alongside male homosexuality, after all. And interestingly, the Bible never condemns lesbians. The only mention of them is when God turns straight women gay as punishment.

Of course, by saying that homosexuality is "against God's will," you're saying that 1) it is possible to circumvent God's will, meaning he is not all-powerful, and 2) that people are sinning simply by being born a certain way (since it has been proven that sexuality is in-born).
Funny how people were saying the exact same things about interracial marriage just 50 years ago, and it's what churches were preaching about miscegenation.

Oh, and for the record, not every Christian church interprets the Bible the same way you do, or even uses the same version of the Bible. Claiming that your specific interpretation, that just happens to support your pre-formed prejudices, is the only correct one is hubris on a massive scale.

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