AG: Gay marriage ban ruling in VA could impact NC

Roy Cooper Says He Won't Defend Same-Sex Marriage

A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban. North Carolina's Attorney General said that ruling could impact our state's gay marriage ban amendment.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Monday that state constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia gay marriage case is one of several that could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said this ruling could impact our state's gay marriage ban amendment. Cooper added that NC prosecutors would drop opposition to challenges to the state's same-sex marriage ban.

"My personal opinions are separate and I argue those in public policy forms, but I'm AG of the state -- I have a job to do, we have done that job, we believe it will be important to present to court on NC the 4th circuit decision," Cooper said.

In February, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that Virginia's same-sex marriage ban violates equal protection and due process guarantees. Lawyers for two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses appealed.

The lawsuit was filed by two Norfolk men who were denied a marriage license and two Chesterfield County women whose marriage in California is not recognized by Virginia.

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