United Church of Christ files lawsuit challenging North Carolina marriage laws

United Church of Christ files lawsuit challenging North Carolina marriage laws April 28, 2014

One of the most important reasons I am struggling with shedding the label Christian is that I remove myself a step from my beloved tribe.

According to a press release dated April 28, 2014 written by Connie Larkman of the UCC.

“The General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) has filed suit against the State of North Carolina, arguing that the state’s marriage laws violate the First Amendment rights of clergy and the principle of “free exercise of religion.”

In what is believed to the first-ever challenge by a national Christian denomination of a state’s marriage laws, the UCC filed the lawsuit Monday morning, April 28, in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C.

Under Amendment One, which passed in late 2012, it is a crime in the State of North Carolina for clergy to officiate a marriage ceremony without determining whether the couple involved has a valid marriage license. United Church of Christ ministers, interested in conducting a religious marriage ceremony for same-gender couples, could face up to 120 days of jail and/or probation and community service if found guilty, since North Carolina marriage laws define and regulate marriage as being between only a man and a woman. As lead plaintiff in this lawsuit against the State, the United Church of Christ asserts that these laws are unconstitutional and violate clergy’s First Amendment rights.”

“The United Church of Christ is proud to defend the religious freedoms upon which this nation was founded.”
Rev. Geoffrey A. Black General Minister and President, United Church of Christ


Visit the UCC “I Do Support Religious Freedom” website to read more about this landmark case and find resources as this action of love and justice picks up steam.


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8 responses to “United Church of Christ files lawsuit challenging North Carolina marriage laws”

  1. I love that UCC gets what the separation of church and state actually means. It’s not about forcing your beliefs on others, it’s about allowing people to practice their religious beliefs without government restrictions. The North Carolina law clearly violates the First Amendment and is just as clearly an unjust law.

  2. That this law was passed is simultaneously astounding and unsurprising… On one hand, I’m amazed they went that far. On the other hand, I half expected them to…