Lawsuit: unusual approach against gay marriage ban

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Some clergy members are filing a novel 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.

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