By MITCH WEISS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some clergy members are filing a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, saying it violates their religious freedom.
The clergy members say they would like to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in their congregations, but can’t because of the law.
The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Charlotte includes a dozen clergy members and the United Church of Christ, which has more than 1 million members.
Their attorney, Jake Sussman, says the lawsuit opens a new front in marriage equality litigation.
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess says the ban has made is difficult for clergy members to marry same-sex couples: If they do, they know they’ll be breaking the law.
Seventeen states allow gay marriage and federal judges have struck down bans in four states.