RALEIGH, N.C. — More groups are organizing responses to next Tuesday’s anti-gay “Protect Marriage” rally in support of the state’s proposed anti-gay marriage amendments.

The Davidson County, N.C.-based Return America is organizing their anti-gay rally to support amendments that could bar recognition of both public and private relationships between same-sex couples, including marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships offered by public bodies and private companies. The group is encouraging churches and other religious institutions to bring their members.

Earlier this week, activists with the North Carolina chapter of Get Equal, a national LGBT grassroots activism group, announced plans to hold a rally on June 3. But another activist hopes to bring people to Raleigh to face anti-gay protesters head on. On a Facebook event page, Mattie Logan is encouraging LGBT community members to stand with pro-LGBT signs on Hallifax Mall at the North Carolina Legislative Building, the site of the “Protect Marriage” rally.

Statewide LGBT education and advocacy group Equality North Carolina has also announced that a group of faith leaders and state legislators will hold a press conference on the morning of the anti-gay rally. The press event will be hosted by Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), the state’s only openly gay legislator. Brandon and faith leaders will encourage clergy and congregation members from all denominations to sign on with a statewide faith coalition to oppose the proposed anti-gay amendments.

“For too long, the anti-gay industry has claimed religion as its own. But on May 17, faith leaders from across the state will represent an ever-increasing number of North Carolinians who are willing to speak out against this type of discriminatory legislation and stand up for LGBT families,” Ian Palmquist, Equality North Carolina executive director, said in a release.

The group is also encouraging citizens to hold an “act in” by contacting their state legislators and speaking out in opposition to the amendments.

The May 17 anti-gay rally is the third time Return America has brought their agenda to the state legislature. They held similar rallies in 2007 and 2009. This year’s rally is supported by the North Carolina Family Policy Council, a state affiliate of the national Family Research Council — recently named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. : :

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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