Lawsuit an unusual challenge to gay marriage ban

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A coalition of clergy members is challenging North Carolina's constitutional ban on gay marriage with an unusual approach in a federal lawsuit: They say it violates their religious freedom.

The clergy members said in the lawsuit filed Monday that they'd like to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in their congregations, but that they can't because of the "unjust law."

Their attorney says it's the only case to make First Amendment religious freedom claims among the more than 60 marriage equality cases pending in the nation's state and federal courts.

But NC Values Coalition executive director Tami Fitzgerald, who helped lead a coalition of Christian and conservative groups supporting the state's 2012 constitutional amendment, said the lawsuit is an attempt to void the will of voters who backed traditional marriage.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.