LGBT group calls on Cooper to oppose same-sex marriage law

Posted by Craig Jarvis on January 24, 2014 

A gay-rights advocacy group is calling on North Carolina’s attorney general to reverse course and follow his counterpart in Virginia by refusing to defend the ban on same-sex marriage in this state.

On Thursday, Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said that state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that he will not only refuse to defend it, but he will also fight to strike it down.

Virginia amended its constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman in 2006. Two federal lawsuits challenge that law, and Herring said he would join them both.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, issued a statement Friday saying N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper should cease representing the state in a federal lawsuit filed here that challenges North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Voters approved it as Amendment One in 2012.

“Every day that Amendment One remains on the books, same-sex families in North Carolina are harmed because they are denied fundamental rights and protections,” Beach-Ferrara said. “We’re calling for full rights and protections under the law immediately for LGBT people. Patience ceases to be a virtue when people are suffering.”

Democrat Cooper, although an opponent of the amendment, has said he will carry out his duty to represent the state in lawsuits.

Update: He issued this statement in response on Friday:

“North Carolina should change its laws to allow marriage equality and I believe basic fairness eventually will prevail. However, when legal arguments exist to defend a law, it is the duty of the Office of the Attorney General under North Carolina law to make those arguments in court.”

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