It's the first time for a national Christian denomination to sue in favor of same-sex marriage, citing restricted freedom of religion. Currently ministers who marry couples without a marriage license can face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 120 days in jail
When Kathleen Smith and Lisa Cloninger got engaged last October, they hoped to get married at Holy Covenant United Church of Christ. It was after all, their religious community and the church that had been their home for their 13-year relationship. But there was a problem: Holy Covenant is in Charlotte, North Carolina, a state that does not allow ministers to perform legal same-sex marriages. Ministers who do marry a couple that has not yet obtained a marriage license can face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 120 days in jail.