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North Carolina’s attorney general will no longer defend state’s same-sex marriage ban

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North Carolina’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, has said that he will stop defending Amendment 1, the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Cooper made the announcement shortly after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s ban in Bostic v. Schaefer. That decision is binding on all states within the Fourth Circuit, which includes North Carolina.

His statement suggested that Amendment 1 will “almost surely” be overturned, so any more effort on his part would be entirely futile

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper thinks Monday’s decision will undo North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriages, and he has no plans to intervene.

Cooper said that it now would be “futile” to continue defending North Carolina’s ban against challenges from within the state. Four cases involving North Carolina’s ban are pending now.

“Simply put, it is time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Cooper said in front of a bank of television cameras at his office.

Read more here:

Amendment 1 passed with substantial support from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), who threw bucketfuls of money into the campaign. It passed despite a strong effort by bloggers and activists, led by North Carolina activist Pam Spaulding.

Cooper will inform district courts about the Fourth Circuit decision and its binding effect on North Carolina. Several challenges to Amendment 1 have been on hold pending a decision in Bostic.


  • 1. brandall  |  July 29, 2014 at 8:27 am

    CO: Continuation of Suther's Last Stand request to the CO Supreme Court

    Here are Suther's reasons issue a writ on Clerk Hall:
    1. Preservation of the status quo pending appeal,
    2. Irreparable harm to the State when invalid licenses are issued,
    3. Violation of longstanding ministerial duties of Clerks to follow valid state law,
    4. Preservation of the uniform system of marriage laws,
    5. Public interest in an orderly judicial resolution of claims for same-sex marriage,
    6. Protection of the public from continued issuance of marriage licenses that are likely void ab initio, and
    7. Lack of any interference with the resolution of the merits from issuing a stay pending appeal.

    Notice they completely dodged "the likelihood of success on the merits." Their only reference is to say Hartman was wrong. Period. Nothing else, no analysis of why Hartman is wrong.

    "Whether Colorado’s marriage limitations will survive Constitutional scrutiny in the final analysis is highly in doubt."

    You say you won't seek an injunction in Brinkman, the "final analysis is highly in doubt," but somehow you want a stay without addressing the "likelihood of success."

  • 2. RQO  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

    One would hope that the CO SC's price for Suther's halt to Boulder licenses would be an expedited hearing of ME, which Suthers opposed in Brinkman v. Long. The result will almost certainly go our way now, or in the 6 – 12 months+ it will take otherwise.
    I am still trying to wrap my head around Suthers' (and WY, and others') frantic desire to delay ME progress while at the same time stating or implying the results will be the same later as today: ME. Suthers is retiring end of the year, NO Republican candidate is publicly commenting on the issue, and the public polls pro-ME by at least a 10% margin. Even Focus on the Family said – when asked – they are still anti-ME, but aren't going to do anything about it. Suthers is starting to get bad press for wasting everyone's time.
    So wazzup, Suthers? The way the myriad court rulings are going, even one or two of the RATS is going to desert the sinking ship. I am pondering your retirement gift, and am torn between an Official Lester Maddox ax handle and a schoolhouse door.

  • 3. scream4ever  |  July 29, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I hear he's running for mayor of Colorado Springs.

  • 4. brandall  |  July 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

    From an editorial today:

    "There’s cost, of course, and not just in court costs. It has been suggested that Suthers — who has never said publicly how he feels about same-sex marriage — might be running for another office (mayor of Colorado Springs, anyone?). And that as a Republican, it would help him to make this case. But I doubt very much it’s as simple as that.

    This very public case can’t be very good for Colorado Republicans. In fact, it feeds directly into the Democratic contention — available in a campaign ad on a big-screen TV near you — that the state’s Republicans have a 21st-century social-issues problem, beginning with personhood and following all the way to same-sex marriage."

  • 5. RQO  |  July 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Yup – as I noted, NO major CO R candidates have said a word on ME lately.

  • 6. brandall  |  July 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    WY: …Just in…Wyoming judge keeps gay marriage lawsuit going, declines to suspend case or rule immediately.

    "The judge also denied a request by attorneys for Wyoming to suspend the lawsuit pending a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue of gay marriage."

    Oh great, here I'm on a rant about illegal stays and now a state tried to suspend everything until June, 2014. Thank heavens he did not agree.

  • 7. Randolph_Finder  |  July 29, 2014 at 9:34 am

    ITYM, June 2015. 🙂

  • 8. brandall  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Tx. Yes, 2015. Next month.

    Or at least I wish it was next month.

  • 9. RQO  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:14 am

    It always rankles me Wyoming's nickname was (they seem to prefer "cowboy" now) the Equality State.

  • 10. brandall  |  July 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm


    Geez, Laramie County Judge Campbell is slow rolling this. It was filed 3/14/14.

    State wants more time to collect evidence that could involve whether the plaintiffs have standing to sue. Campbell granted that request, setting out a 90-day period for additional evidence collection.

    Campbell ruled that a hearing will take place in November.

  • 11. Bruno71  |  July 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Let's hope by December Wyoming will have ME anyway.

  • 12. jjcpelayojr  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Well it's nice to see a voice of reason on pragmatism from North Carolina…it's a small step in restitution for Amendment 1 getting voted on.

    BTW, is there an automatic upvote for posts?

  • 13. davepCA  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Apparently, we all start off with a "+1" for each comment.

  • 14. KACinSTL  |  July 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Yes, it makes us like our own post when we submit it which makes if you see a post with no thumbs up or thumbs down it actually means someone has disliked it. Or several have liked & disliked equally haha.

  • 15. Bruno71  |  July 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Cooper states there are 4 cases in NC, but only 3 are listed here:

    What's the 4th one?

  • 16. brandall  |  July 29, 2014 at 11:43 am

    ACLU lists 4 including UCC

  • 17. Bruno71  |  July 29, 2014 at 11:47 am

    So FTM is missing McCrory and Clark v. North Carolina. Thanks.

  • 18. Margo Schulter  |  July 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Somewhat humorously, I must admit rather charitably referring to the four SCOTUS justices most likely to oppose marriage equality, and who did oppose it in Windsor, as STAR: Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts.

    That ordering might also reflect a crude predictive guess as to the likelihood of each of the four joining a pro-marriage equality decision — in ascending order, of course, with Justice Scalia the least likely and Chief Justice Roberts the least unlikely.

    The STAR acronym not only has a certain charity to it, but permits a certain astronomical allusion. Justice Scalia’s “S” could also stand for an astrophyiscal “Singularity,” a point-mass in the jurisprudential cosmos where the Fourteenth Amendment drops out of the known universe, along with constitutional prohibitions against sex discrimination, and thus doubtless also prohibitions against discrimination by sexual orientation. Perhaps Justice Thomas is the event horizon of this singularity.

    In contrast, however uncertain that contrast, possibly Justice Alito is like a pulsar or neutron star, who now and then might get in sync with the times. This would be a perspective like: “Yes, same-sex marriage is newer than the Internet or cellphones — but with the polls showing 60% national support, maybe it’s pragmatically time both to follow, however reluctantly, the precedent of Windsor, and to stop following the election returns back in 2004.”

    As our “least unlikely” supporter within STAR of marriage equality, Chief Justice Roberts might be motivated not only by the desire to be on the right side both of history and of evolved public opinion, but to shape and possibly more specifically to narrow the scope of an opinion, something which, according to at least one study of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Burger did from time to time.

    The saying “Never say never” is a wise one, and I think it applies here as well. Given all the times that Justice Scalia has been quoted in opinions overturning marrige bans, I find it at least pleasantly amusing when people discuss scenarios where he just might get on board himself, for example in an opinion critically assessing every precedent leading in this direction (including a number with the lead opinion written by Justice Kennedy), and then concluding that the line of precedent is so well established that there’s really not much point in resisting it.

    That’s not saying that Justice Scalia will oblige, only that reflecting on the possibility (however theoretical) is not the most unpleasant way to wait out these next days and weeks now that both the Tenth and Fourth Circuits have spoken.

  • 19. LGBT News Appeals court l&hellip  |  July 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    […] marriage in VA, WV, NC, SC Yea gay = stay in all of these cases which disappoints me immensely. Equality On TrialNorth Carolina's attorney general will no longer defend state's same-sex marriage b… This was good news although who knows what it means for couples in NC right now. Great website, […]

  • 20. Equality On TrialFurther &hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 1:28 am

    […] Carolina’s attorney general has said he will no longer defend the state’s ban, suggesting that it would be futile, given the Fourth Circuit […]

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