Republican Leaders Try To Stop NC Gay Weddings

Lawyers for North Carolina Republican leaders have filed a legal brief urging a federal judge to allow them to intervene in a pair of cases seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage ban.

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger filed their answer Friday shortly before a noon deadline imposed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen Jr. in Greensboro. Osteen denied a request Thursday from the Republicans seeking an eight-day delay to prepare their arguments.

Osteen appears poised to strike down the marriage ban approved by North Carolina voters in 2012, issuing an order Wednesday lifting his stays and dismissing all prior motions.

The GOP leaders are seeking to intervene after Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper concluded all possible legal defenses had been exhausted.

Court Strikes Down VA Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Nc Attorney General Roy Cooper

Nc Attorney General Roy Cooper

Following the Fourth Circuit Court’s ruling, Cooper announced Monday that North Carolina would no longer be contesting court challenges to Amendment 1.

Monday in Richmond, a three-judge panel on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage – a ruling that may have significant implications for North Carolina down the road.

In the case of Bostic v. Schaefer, the judges struck down Virginia’s ban by a 2-1 vote, ruling that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and due process under the law. Technically that ruling only applies to Virginia’s law, but the Fourth Circuit also covers North Carolina as well – so lower court judges will use the Fourth Circuit’s opinion as guidance when ruling on North Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban, also known as Amendment 1.

The ruling will not take effect in Virginia for 21 days; it’s likely the judges will issue a stay on the ruling; and it’s almost certain to be appealed to a higher court. Still, Monday’s ruling is significant: it marks only the third time a circuit court has struck down a state’s ban on same-sex marriage. And within hours of the ruling, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that the state would no longer actively oppose the challenges to Amendment 1 currently making their way through the courts.

Following the ruling, WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, a constitutional lawyer who’s actively involved in one of the ongoing challenges to Amendment 1.

Aaron also spoke with Chris Sgro, the executive director of Equality NC, an organization that’s fighting against the same-sex marriage ban in North Carolina.

NC Attorney General Cooper: I’m Finished Defending Amendment One

Soon after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday afternoon that Virginia’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper called a press conference to announce that his office will no longer defend his state’s Amendment One against lawsuits.

The amendment, which received 61 percent of the vote when it was on the ballot in 2012, declares that marriage is only legally recognized in North Carolina when it is between a man and a woman.

“Our attorneys have vigorously defended North Carolina’s marriage law, which is their job,” said Cooper. “But today we know our law will almost surely be overturned as well. Simply put, 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.”

In a 2-to-1 decision, the 4th Circuit Court called marriage a right guaranteed to all by the U.S. Constitution.

North Carolina is part of the 4th Circuit with Virginia, and Cooper told reporters that North Carolina’s gay marriage ban is likely doomed at this point.

Even so, Cooper said that citizens should not expect North Carolina’s current marriage law to go right away.

“It’s likely that there will be no valid same-sex marriages in North Carolina until the U.S. Supreme Court either turns down the case on appeal, or, ultimately, decides the issue,” said Cooper.

He added that Virginia will almost certainly file for a stay pending appeals. Otherwise, marriage licenses could be issued to same-sex couples in North Carolina 21 days from now.

One Year Since NC’s Passing of Amendment 1

CHAPEL HILL — It’s been one year since North Carolina approved Amendment 1—the law that defined marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman.

Out of more than 2 million votes counted from the May 8, 2012 referendum, supporters of the ban led opponents by a 61 percent-39 percent margin—that’s according to figures from the State Board of Elections reported by CNN.

The amendment altered North Carolina’s constitution to say that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”