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 A group of liberal clerics have filed a legal challenge against North Carolina’s same-sex ‘marriage ban,’ asserting that it violates the free exercise of religion among clergy. The Cleveland, Ohio-based United Church of Christ (UCC), which is outside of biblical orthodoxy and was the first American religious group to ordain homosexuals and affirm abortion, filed the suit in federal court on Monday. Several local clergy members from within the UCC and those from other sects also joined the litigation. It is the first lawsuit to challenge a state marriage amendment on religious grounds. The plaintiffs assert that North Carolina’s ban on same-sex “marriage” unlawfully bars them from serving a certain sector of the public, thus inhibiting their liberty to perform their clerical duties. More