Hundreds gather in support of traditional marriage

RALEIGH The rally began at 11 a.m. on Halifax Mall in front of the state Capitol.

Return America and NC4Marriage participated in the event, but it was open to the public.

According to its website, Return America is dedicated to many issues related to Judeo-Christian values, including the sanctity of marriage and family values.

NC4 Marriage defines itself as "a statewide coalition of voters, churches, ministry and denominational leaders, policy organizations, and political leaders who are working together to get a Marriage Protection Amendment bill passed by the General Assembly."

Both groups hope to see the Defense of Marriage Act added to November's ballot and ultimately added to the state constitution.

Opponents of the amendment held a smaller counter rally near the large one. They pointed out that no matter where you stand on the gay marriage issue, North Carolina already has a ban in state law.

Some religious leaders are also on record opposing the amendment. In a statement emailed to Eyewitness News last week, Jack McKinney, Pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and also Co-chair of the North Carolina Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality, said: "We are saddened that some of our legislators continue to use the issue of same-sex marriage to try and re-write our state's constitution and create a hostile environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender citizens in North Carolina."

Amendment supporters say it's necessary to keep a court from overturning state law. If the legislation is approved, voters will be able to make their decision in November.

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