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Friday, January 24, 2014

Pro-LGBT group calls on Roy Cooper to drop Amendment One defense

Posted by on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 3:03 PM

In a post yesterday, I noted that as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was stepping up on the issue of same-sex marriage rights, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper was shrinking from an important immigrant rights issue — thus adding to Cooper's list of disappointing legal positions, including his defense of racial gerrymandering, of voter-suppression legislation, of anti-choice legislation and of Amendment One.

Cooper's defense of Amendment One, the North Carolina ban on same-sex marriages, is the opposite of what Herring's doing. Herring announced that he will not defend Virginia's statutory ban in court; he will argue instead that it is unconstitutional In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Windsor case, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Today, the Campaign for Southern Equality, a pro-LGBT rights group, called on Cooper to follow Herring's lead and drop his opposition to a lawsuit which challenges the constitutionality of Amendment One.

The group's statement:

Attorney General Cooper should choose same course of action as Virginia Attorney General Herring

Asheville, N.C. (January 24, 2014) — Yesterday Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that his office will cease to defend Virginia’s ban against same-sex marriage in a federal lawsuit that is progressing through the courts.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that NC Attorney General Roy Cooper will continue to defend Amendment One:

“Cooper said today North Carolina should change its law to allow marriage equality and he believes ‘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,’ he said in a written statement.”

“I am hopeful that NC Attorney General Cooper will take the same course of action as Virginia Attorney General Herring and choose not to defend Amendment One, an unjust law that will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “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. 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.”

Recent actions by the North Carolina Department of Revenue and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC clearly demonstrate Amendment One’s negative impacts on North Carolina families.

Directive PD-13-1 issued by the North Carolina Department of Revenue states that legally married same-sex couples in North Carolina must file their state taxes separately, despite the fact that they will file federal taxes jointly. Additionally Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC does not offer family coverage plans to legally married same-sex couples due to Amendment One. As a result, legally-married gay couples who have enrolled in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace as married have had their insurance plans cancelled by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

NC Department of Revenue directive can be found at:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield statement can be found at:

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Group wants Attorney General Cooper to do what Virginia Attorney General Herring did yesterday — refuse to defense his state's ban on same-sex marriages.


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