Following today’s historic ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would stop defending the state’s marriage equality ban.
Today’s ruling applies to the entire Fourth Circuit, which includes North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. There are currently two cases in North Carolina challenging the state's marriage ban.
In remarks earlier today, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said:
After reviewing the 4th Circuit decision and consulting with attorneys here, I have concluded that the State of North Carolina will not oppose the cases moving forward. In addition, the State of North Carolina will acknowledge the 4th Circuit opinion that marriage is a fundamental right and that our office believes that the judges are bound by this 4th Circuit decision.
In all these cases challenging state marriage laws, our office along with other attorneys general and state attorneys across the country have made about every legal argument imaginable. Since the US Supreme Court ruled in the Windsor case, all the federal courts have rejected these arguments each and every time. So it’s time for the State of North Carolina to stop making them.
Attorney General Cooper’s announcement follows a sweeping ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that determined that strict scrutiny review dictates that marriage bans are unconstitutional on the basis of both equal protection and due process.