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North Carolina

N.C. AG supports gay marriage, but says that won’t prevent him from defending state ban

Monday, October 14, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. — Attorney General Roy Cooper has revealed that he supports same-sex marriage, and he says his personal views won’t prevent him from vigorously defending North Carolina’s constitutional amendment against such marriages in a lawsuit.

When Cooper opposed passage of the May 2012 amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages, which passed by a comfortable margin, he spoke mostly about the lack of clarity in its language, and had never addressed publicly his views on the issue itself.

Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper

But when asked over the weekend by The Associated Press in an interview whether he’d like to see the amendment repealed or a law passed to sanction same-sex marriage, Cooper said: “I support marriage equality.”

Cooper is named as a defendant and is the state’s lead designated attorney in a lawsuit filed by several same-sex couples that was recently expanded to challenge the constitutionality of the amendment in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision ov er the summer.

His announcement worries social conservative groups that supported the amendment’s passage but aren’t sure that Cooper will robustly defend the state in court. They are particularly unhappy with Cooper for agreeing to speak at next month’s annual fundraiser for the gay-rights organization Equality North Carolina. While not a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Equality NC lobbies for expanding rights for gays and lesbians.

Cooper’s planned Nov. 9 speech draws “into serious question the intent of the attorney general with respect to the lawsuit,” North Carolina Family Policy Council executive director John Rustin said Monday.

“We believe it is inappropriate for him to participate in that event in that fashion while he is … the lead defense attorney in a case that is attempting to overturn our marriage laws, which is a major goal and agenda of Equality North Caroilna,” Rustin said in an interview.

Cooper, a Democrat who is laying the groundwork f or a bid for governor in 2016, told the AP he speaks “with many diverse groups all over North Carolina about issues facing this state, and this is no different.” Equality NC leaders asked him to speak, Cooper added.

Equality NC executive director Chris Sgro was ecstatic hearing of Cooper’s personal support for expanding marriage to include same-sex couples, which is now granted in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

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Sgro said Cooper “has long been an advocate for equal rights for all people and we applaud him for publicly aligning” with a “fast-growing majority” of state residents who support legal recognition for gay couples.

Although 61 percent of voters said yes to the constitutional amendment, Sgro dismissed the Family Policy Council as “a small minority” whose opposition to Cooper’s gala appearance will energize Equality NC supporters.

Cooper, now in his 13th year as attorney general, said his office has successfully defended other laws from challenges with which he didn’t necessarily agree.

Cooper and other state attorneys last month filed a motion to have a judge dismiss the federal lawsuit, which also seeks to overturn a state law that says same-sex couples cannot be recognized as equal parents of children.

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61 more reader comments:

  1. Then that makes no sense.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:51pm
  2. Technically speaking, it could be seen as part of his job, the way lawyers have to defend criminals even when they know they're guilty. Unless he has a very great deal of professional integrity, I suspect he's not going to try to defend the ban very hard, though.

    Replied on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:53pm
  3. It is part of his job. This is the law of the state. Like it or not, he is sworn to defend the state's laws. Sucks to be in that position, though.

    Replied on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:41pm
  4. What a dickwaffle.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:51pm
  5. Wut?…

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:51pm
  6. Absolute twatsnot.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:52pm
  7. Makes perfect sense. It is crucial to maintain that tradition of utter hypocrisy at all costs.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:53pm
  8. Actually, it makes perfect sense. It’s his job to defend the law in court, period. Being a professional means getting the job done, regardless of one’s personal feelings. It is NOT his job to decide whether the law is constitutional or not–that’s the judicial branch’s purview.

    Anyone who has a problem with Cooper’s stance, consider this hypothetical: a law that you support is challenged in court, and the person whose job it is to defend it chooses not to do so, because he disagrees with it.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:55pm
  9. Don’t judge him… he is a lawyer… he will vote for a repeal of the bigotry law, but as an attorney general he is compelled to defend laws he detests… I would like to know more about him..

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:56pm
  10. Sgt Johnson just rolled over in her grave

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:57pm
  11. That doesn’t even make sense. This guy needs to sit down, he’s embarrassing himself.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 7:59pm
  12. If it's a case of him doing his job, even when it flies in the face of his personal beliefs, I can respect that. However, if there comes a time when someone has to choose between their integrity and their job, that becomes the real litmus test of their character. We'll see how he plays this one out.

    Replied on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:45pm
  13. As the Obama administration did... they refused to defend DOMA because they truthfully recognized that it was unconstitutional. SCOTUS agreed.

    Replied on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:28am
  14. Just like a justice of the peace should be obligated to perform same-sex weddings where they are legal, even if the JP doesn’t personally support them. The AG has sworn to uphold the law of his state. Our personal beliefs should not prevent us from doing our jobs – and that cuts in both directions on this issue. If he objects so deeply, he is free to resign.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:00pm
  15. No balls. Do what others did choose not to defend the law in the courtroom. You do have that option. Though you want to keep your job and taking a stand might just get you replaced.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:04pm
  16. He has to uphold the law of the state.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:05pm
  17. two faced.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:07pm
  18. loving v virginia

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:08pm
  19. Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:13pm
  20. FUCK OFF

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:15pm
  21. NC the backward Republican State.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:15pm
  22. LOL…isn’t that what you call “playing both sides of the coin”…ffucken hypocrite…

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:19pm
  23. looks like my partner will get married some where else we will take out Gay MONEY in spend it some where else and to think NC could have made so much money off of us.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:23pm
  24. He isn’t a hypocrite he’s an attorney. He’s obligated to do his job without bias… Which he is doing. If you steal, your lawyer is obligated to defend you, even if you’re guilty. That is no different. I give this man credit for standing up and saying he disagrees.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:23pm
  25. A) if you defend the ban, you by definition cannot be for same sex marriage. If he actually was in favor of same sex marriages he would recuse himself because it is a conflict of interest.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:25pm
  26. then you don’t support gay marriage. you can’t have it both ways Roy

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:31pm
  27. boooooooo

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:33pm
  28. THIS IS BULLSHIT IN IT’S PUREST FORM! Any person who compromises his personal views does so out of FEAR. Shame on Cooper. In Mr. Spock’s vernacular, as far as Cooper is concerned ” the needs of the ONE outweigh the needs of the many.”

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:36pm
  29. two faced!

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:37pm
  30. As we have seen, following the judicial process always works out in our favor. It creates discussion and a paper trail.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:38pm
  31. How can he support what he doesn’t believe? Roy Cooper is deceiving!

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:41pm
  32. Two-Faced COWARD…

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:50pm
  33. That’s kinda stupid. He needs to grow a backbone and stand up and say enough is enough.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:53pm
  34. Go home, you’re drunk.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:58pm
  35. One side of your mouth at a time please!

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:05pm
  36. ON THE FENCE KINDA

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:06pm
  37. Yeah that makes sense. Such BS.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:06pm
  38. what? You can’t support it and be against it…. that’s contradictory!

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:08pm
  39. Then sir you are unworthy of anyone’s respect if you can’t stand up for your own convictions.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:17pm
  40. Isn’t this bearing false witness?

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:32pm
  41. Then he’s a hypocrite like the other IDIOTS…

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:38pm
  42. This is his JOB. The attorney general of a state’s job entails defending and upholding laws he may personally disagree with. Almost all lawyers have to do this. Sucks, but that’s reality.

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 9:43pm
  43. i can respect that

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 10:17pm
  44. Makes zero sense.
    Or I support gay marriage but really want reelected

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 10:51pm
  45. horse shit

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 11:34pm
  46. Huh?

    Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 11:43pm
  47. then he is a bigot..

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 1:33am
  48. then he is a bigot..

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 1:33am
  49. typical polititions/presidents/mayors/governors, they are so two faced, ready to make promises and then stab citizenze in the back. Et tu Brute?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 4:17am
  50. another hypocrite?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 5:36am
  51. That makes him a prostitute.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 5:44am
  52. what a fucking dork

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 5:51am
  53. im allergic to shellfish but i eat it anyhow….DUH!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 5:52am
  54. Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachman elected terrorists should be brought up on Seditious conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 2384 ) is a crime under United States law. It is stated as follows: Pass this information along.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 6:36am
  55. So…I can support his breathing but it won’t prevent me from shoving his head further up his ass.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 6:38am
  56. Then what’s the point in supporting it if you’re not willing to do anything to promote it?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 1:10pm
  57. This is just as oxymoronic as “Military Intelligence…”

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 1:37pm
  58. Typically republican they say one thing but mean another.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:03pm
  59. He’s a putz!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:25pm
  60. He’s a putz!!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 10:25pm
  61. Help change the North Carolina Constitution, Attorney Cooper, and America will never forget your name…Asheville, North Carolina is not related to the Right Wing Christian Republican Party in North Carolina because the people of Asheville can think…that is, of others…….You have the intelligence to change North Carolina and bring N.C. into the twenty-first century…Thank you…

    Posted on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 3:17am