Clergy demand that Cooper stop defending NC marriage laws

Posted June 16, 2014

— More than a dozen clergy members on Monday delivered petitions containing about 30,000 signatures to the state Department of Justice building, calling on Attorney General Roy Cooper to stop defending North Carolina laws that prohibit same-sex marriage.

Led by the United Church of Christ, the group argued that the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman and other laws restrict the freedoms of religion and expressive association guaranteed in the First Amendment.

"For me, equality has always been extremely important from the time I was child, and I believe love is love and everyone should have the right to marry," said Carol Williams-Swoope of Trinity United Church of Christ in Concord. "But more importantly, this about First Amendment rights of our pastors."

Any clergy member who marries a couple that doesn't have a North Carolina marriage license, such as a same-sex couple, faces a misdemeanor, which Rev. Nathan King, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, called "a little bit anxiety-producing."

"It certainly makes it difficult when a couple comes to me and wants to be married in our church with their own faith community," King said.

Security guards at the Department of Justice refused to allow the clergy to take the petitions to the Attorney General's Office, forcing them to be dropped off at the front desk.

While Cooper said he supports the petitioners' position, he said it's his job to represent the state in court and defend North Carolina laws.

“North Carolina should change its laws to allow marriage equality, and I believe basic fairness eventually will prevail," he said in a statement. "However, when legal arguments exist to defend a law, it is the duty of the Office of the Attorney General under North Carolina law to make those arguments in court.”

The United Church of Christ and other religious groups have filed suit to overturn the gay marriage ban in the state. Six same-sex couples likewise have sued the state over the ban.


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  • lprop Jun 25, 2014

    Let God be the judge. We don't stop women who are not married from having babies. We don't stop male & female from living together who are not married.

  • Jack Jones Jun 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Divorce is the greatest threat to marriage; equality is not a threat to marriage. Where are the crazy mobs that would divorce illegal? Where?

  • Terry Watts Jun 17, 2014
    user avatar

    "Any clergy member who marries a couple that doesn't have a North Carolina marriage license, such as a same-sex couple, faces a misdemeanor"

    Some people are so appalled by Adam and Steve getting married, they've lost focus on the fact that the State is making a law "prohibiting the free exercise thereof".


  • Kathryn Adams Jun 17, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    You haven't exactly answered the question; why should "procreation" be a focus of this discussion? Marriage is not required for people to have children, and having children is not a requirement for marriage. You can talk all you like about "a man and a woman were created for a purpose", but allowing gay couples to marry won't cause married couples to stop having children, any more than banning gay marriage will stop gay couples from using all the methods available to infertile straight couples in order to have children.

  • WRAL_USER Jun 17, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Louise Brown may contradict your opinion...

  • WRAL_USER Jun 17, 2014

    I am sure 60 years ago NC citizens would have voted to restrict all sorts of things... that does not make that choice constitutional... This restriction will be overturned (along with so many other ludicrous laws passed by our criminal GOP NCGA) and will simply be seen as a "dark" time period in the political timeline of NC...

  • Tony Snark Jun 17, 2014

    View quoted thread

    If you are not gay, then why are you so bothered by this?

  • fairisfair Jun 17, 2014

    So when homosexuals get the right to marry in NC, I'm going to go to the clerk of courts office with my dad, my brother, and my mom so that we can fill out an application for all four of us to marry each other. We love each other and we are consenting adults. Marriage is not just about sex. I know marriage is usually between 2 people but we want to make it 4. We are not going to hurt anyone by doing this. We don't want more kids. I'm the only one with a decent affordable health insurance thru my job. I'll put each of them on as my spouse. It's none of anyone's business who marries who as long as people are loving, consenting adults. For those of you that think marriage is only between 2 people....too bad! You don't get an opinion about MY RIGHT TO MARRY WHOEVER I WANT TO.

  • mediawatcher Jun 17, 2014

    Like I said let same sex partners be together and call it something else, and let them have the same benefits and taxes like the married couples do.So then what is the harm in calling it a marriage? If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be a duck. Calling a same sex marriage a marriage does absolutely nothing to harm a heterosexual marriage and it's time people realized that.

    Speaking of animals, isn't it a shame that an opposum has more rights in North Carolina than people?

  • notexactly Jun 17, 2014

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    We are here because of the ability of a woman and man to have a child. This is the way of the world. nature at its finest. I am not against same sex relationships. I am against it being called being married. My point is others on here are saying that since some married couples cant have children then they shouldn't be married, which is an ignorant statement to start with. whether you believe in god or not, a man and a woman were created for a purpose. Just like male and female animals. If this was not the case, we would not be here. I choose to believe that a child should have a mother and a father. Not hating anyone, this is just my belief.