CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The controversial Marriage Protection Amendment referendum has pastors pushing their congregations to make sure they're registered to vote.

Dr. Ron Baity, founder of Return America and pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem calls the May 8 vote the most important vote in state history.

Let's get our people out to the polls, Baity said at a rally Thursday at South Charlotte Baptist Church.

Gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina.

If this referendum is approved, it would add to the state constitution words saying, Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

Getting congregation members to vote for it includes making sure they have several handouts like fact sheets, yard signs, reminder cards details churches who favor the amendment don't want to overlook as the clock ticks.

In the history of this state, there has never been a more serious vote than the vote we are facing May 8, Baity said. Who would have ever believed in our ministry that we would have to defend Biblical marriage?

Plenty of churches are urging their congregations to vote against the amendment, including Wedgewood Baptist in Charlotte. The church has yard signs urging people to vote against it. The same can be found on the church s website.

Opponents say the amendment alienates and discriminates. Last week, more than two dozen religious leaders spoke against it.

It's not compassionate. It doesn't treat our neighbors as we ourselves want to be treated, said Pastor Jay Leach.

In a YouTube video for Protect All NC Families, local attorney Russell Robinson says the amendment is poorly worded and invites litigation.

This amendment could disrupt parent-child obligations and parent support obligations. It could really create havoc in family law. I think the amendment is very bad, Robinson said.

Both sides plan support rallies leading to up to May 8.

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