WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A coalition of African-American civil rights leaders and pastors announced a campaign to gather 1 million signatures to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder for attempting to undermine states’ authority to “coerce states to fall in line with same-sex marriage.”

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) is calling for Holder’s impeachment for “attempting to impose ‘same-sex marriage’ throughout the nation despite federal law, rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, and state constitutional amendments to the contrary,” reads the online petition.

“What we have in Attorney General Holder is a man so political in his zeal to redefine marriage that he is willing to run roughshod over the rulings of the Supreme Court, binging federal law, and the United States Constitution along with the constitutions of a majority of states,” the Rev. Bill Owens, founder and president of CAAP, said in a statement.

This comes as Holder announced on Tuesday that state attorney generals are not obligated to defend laws in their states that ban same-sex marriage if they do not believe in such legislation.

Speaking at the National Association of Attorneys General meeting, Holder said decisions not to defend state laws should not be steeped in political disagreements and instead but “must be reserved only for exceptional circumstances.” But Holder added that, “we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation” and that upholding equal rights is an important principle.

The CAAP’s petition calling for Holder’s impeachment says that Holder’s position on the matter is in opposition to the values of the black community, and similarly faults President Barack Obama for his support of same-sex marriage.

The petition reads: “President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have turned their backs on the values the American people hold dear, values particularly cherished in the black community: values like marriage, which should be strengthened and promoted, rather than weakened and undermined. Our nation calls for the building up of a healthier marriage culture; instead, our elected leaders are bent on destroying marriage, remaking it as a genderless institution and reorienting it to be all about the desires of adults rather than the needs of children.”

The CAAP is supporting a “March For Marriage” on June 19 of this year in Washington D.C. “in support of the bedrock of society and our culture’s most pro-life and pro-child institution.”

The CAAP describes itself as a grass-roots movement of Christians who believe in traditional family values such as “supporting the role of religion in American public life, protecting the lives of the unborn, and defending the sacred institution of marriage.”

The CAAP says it is not affiliated with any political party or religion denomination, and says it welcomes believers of all races and backgrounds to work with them in spreading Christian values and convictions.

Owens reiterated that Holder’s stance on marriage is an attack that should be defended by people among all racial and religious groups.

“Marriage is an institution that benefits all of society; therefore every citizen has an interest in protecting marriage from these brazen attacks,” Owens said at the National Press Club.

Democratic attorney generals in five states — Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois and Nevada — have declined to defend same-sex marriage bans against lawsuits filed on behalf of gay couples.

This is not the first time there has been a push for Holder’s impeachment. A group of congressional Republicans introduced a resolution in November alleging the attorney general had committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” during his time at the top of the Justice Department.

Rep. Pete Olson, a Texas Republican, claimed Holder had committed “the offenses of lying to Congress, refusing to comply with a subpoena, and failing to fulfill his oath of office.” The botched gun-running operation of “Fast and Furious” and IRS targeting of conservative groups were listed among Holder’s impeachable offenses.

Benjamin Fearnow