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@NCCapitol

GOP leaders: No plan to intervene on marriage ban

Posted July 29, 2014

NC state seal in Senate chamber

— Legislative leaders say they're not planning to intervene at this point in the court battle over North Carolina's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. 

A decision Monday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Virginia's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, setting a precedent for federal challenges to North Carolina's very similar ban.

Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Monday afternoon he will cease defending the amendment in light of the court's ruling.

"It's time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the United States Supreme Court," Cooper said. "All federal courts have rejected these arguments each and every time, so it's time for the state of North Carolina to stop making them. There's really no argument left to be made." 

Four challenges are underway in North Carolina. Three have been stayed pending higher court rulings.

At a press conference Tuesday on the budget, Berger reiterated his call for Cooper to change his mind.

"Sixty-plus percent of the people of the state wanted that provision put in our constitution," Berger said. "I think the Attorney General should defend the state constitution, and until the U.S. Supreme Court makes what could be argued as a final decision, I think we should continue to do that."

Last year, lawmakers approved a proposal giving Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis legal standing equal to that of the attorney general to defend the state's laws in court. However, Berger said no plans are in place to invoke that power.  

"We don’t have any plans at this point to do anything," he said. "I don’t – I hope that’s not necessary. If it becomes necessary, we will consider it."

21 Comments

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  • Atheistinafoxhole Jul 30, 2014

    From many of these comments, it is clear that many don't understand the difference between a Democracy and a Republic.

    The Founders hated the idea of pure Democracy.

  • for the people Jul 30, 2014

    View quoted thread


    i agree that the money is better spent elsewhere. but, money is not the point. the law is the point and at this time this is the law of our state. i don't agree with the law as stated.

  • Matt Wood Jul 30, 2014
    user avatar

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    His job is to defend CONSTITUTIONAL laws, and with about 30 courts across the nation, liberal and conservative, all striking them down, it is obvious that this law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    Also, the GA passed a law to allow them to defend laws in court when the AG won't. Thus, they are going against their own law. Faux outrage, indeed.

  • Tanya Rose Jul 30, 2014
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    View quoted thread


    What is the point of defending a law that is clearly un-Constitutional? I can think of much better things for our state to spend money on then this.

  • George Herbert Jul 30, 2014
    user avatar

    The attorney general, as well as the other elected officials, took an oath of office to defend the U.S. Constitution first and the N.C. Constitution second. I think it's important to recognize that none of them are shirking their responsibility when they no longer defend a law that is similar to another state's law that has been deemed unconstitutional by a federal court of appeals.

  • for the people Jul 30, 2014

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    copper is the attorney general of this state. it's his JOB to defend the laws. GOP lawmakers put forth laws for the gov to sign into law. there is a huge difference.

  • for the people Jul 30, 2014

    I am absolutely for legalized same sex marriage. I voted against amendment 1.

    but cooper can't pick and choose which laws he will defend in this state. his behavior is political and wrong.

  • Matt Wood Jul 30, 2014
    user avatar

    Some of the commenters here seem to have missed the part where the GOP leaders are also considering not defending the law anymore. Where's the outrage against them??? Oh, right, Cooper's the only one with a D next to his name.

  • Kristin Byrne Jul 30, 2014
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    He is refusing to waste our money on a lost cause.

  • bill0 Jul 30, 2014

    I'm 100% in favor of legalized same-sex marriage.

    However, I don't think Cooper should pick and choose which law he will defend. Our legal system depends on lawyers arguing both sides of an issue . Just like a defense lawyer must still vigorously defend a guilty person, our AG should make the best case he can for this law.

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