- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Church leaders in North Carolina want Attorney General Roy Cooper to stop defending Amendment One and other laws that they say makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize, and for pastors to perform, same-sex marriages or civil unions.

About 20 people walked into the hall outside of Cooper’s office Monday. They sang and dropped off stacks of letters with 16,000 signatures on a table near the metal detector.

Cooper, a Democrat, and a potential 2016 gubernatorial candidate, has not fallen into line with other Democratic leaders on the issue, including President Barack Obama. His office is defending the amendment, which is being challenged in court by several church groups.

The church leaders argue that laws criminalizing pastors for blessing same-sex relationships are blatantly unconstitutional.

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