A North Carolina pastor says he was joking when he told parents to punch their sons if they show any signs they are gay.

The Fayetteville Observer reports (http://bit.ly/IUR8m2) pastor Sean Harris was preaching at Berean Baptist Church about marriage before next week's vote on a state constitutional amendment.

It would make marriage between a man and a woman the only legal domestic union in the state.

Harris says he does not advocate hitting children and wishes he could take back the remarks.

He says he stands by his belief that "the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly."

Gay marriage is already illegal and amendment opponents argue its language is unclear and could have wider consequences.