CHARLOTTE, NC -- There was a clash of faiths in uptown Charlotte Monday, over the issue of a state constitutional amendment changing the parameters of marriage in North Carolina.
"It's not compassionate, it doesn't treat our neighbors as we ourselves want to be treated," said Jay Leach, Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Charlotte.
Leach was one of 30 local religious leaders holding a service at the corner of Trade Street and Tryon Street during lunchtime Monday.
They were speaking out against the amendment. They offer an opposing view to many in the state's religious community who are pushing the amendment.
On the ballot, the measure will appear as the following: "Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."
Critics say the measure is too wide-ranging, and fails to protect heterosexual couples in committed, but unmarried relationships.
Census data from 2010 shows 220,000 couples in North Carolina are in committed, yet unmarried relationships, and 88 percent of those identify as heterosexual.
The uptown group and their supporters were met by unexpected hecklers, shouting and chanting during the service.
"You are no more a Christian than you are a poached egg," yelled one man to the audience, holding a microphone and speaker.
By the end of the service, the two sides were shouting and debating each other, while a handful of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers looked on.
"I pray just because they have loud microphones that people are able to hear wisdom and think for themselves," said Rabbi Judy Schindler.
NewsChannel 36 spoke to one of the outspoken proponents of the amendment, Dr. Mark Harris, of First Baptist Church in uptown. Harris said the amendment is necessary beyond the existing state law against gay marriage.
"Without a constitutional amendment, we find ourselves at risk of activist judges who could strike down statutes," said Harris.
"Children do best when they're raised in a home that has a biological mom and a biological dad," he continued.
Rabbi Schindler disagrees, saying the law goes too far.
"It is a dangerous law. It discriminates. It alienates," said Rabbi Schindler.