Monday’s ruling by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond may bring gay marriage to the state of North Carolina. As the federal court ruled that the Virginia law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has taken it as an indication of what may lie ahead for his state. During a press conference Monday, he announced that he will no longer defend the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
North Carolina is part of the 4th Circuit and if a federal judge rules in favor of any of the four lawsuits against the state on the gay marriage ban, North Carolina could see a similar ruling on the appeals level. Cooper feels that path is highly possible and likely since North Carolina’s law was similar to the one in Virginia.
Cooper said in the press conference, “Our attorneys have vigorously argued this case every step of the way. But the 4th Circuit has ruled and the 4th Circuit is clear, along with every federal court that has addressed this issue. Therefore, there are really no arguments left to be made.”
A judge has yet to rule in any of the cases, but Cooper expects federal judges to be influenced by the Court of Appeals decision as well as the trend of rulings throughout the nation. He added, “Today we know our law almost certainly will be overturned as well,” and noted that the state should move forward from arguments he feels they will ultimately lose based on similar cases and that the “ultimate resolution will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Cooper stated that he did not expect same-sex marriages to begin in the state anytime soon but anticipates North Carolina’s law being struck down. Voters approved a state constitutional amendment in May 2012 although there was a ban already in place. The amendment defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Cooper feels arguments for the ban are now a losing argument.