ACLU Asking Judges To Toss Out North Carolina's Gay Marriage Ban

Lawyers for three same-sex couples say they will ask judges to throw out North Carolina's ban on gay marriages.

Monday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in in Richmond ruled that Virginia's constitutional and statutory provisions barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution.

North Carolina is also in the 4th Circuit, and federal judges in the state have to abide by the higher court ruling when deciding cases.

Chris Brook, legal director for the ACLU said Tuesday that they will ask judges in their pending cases to immediately enter judgements.

"It makes very clear that Amendment One's days are numbered here in North Carolina, and it is a matter, at this point, not if Amendment One is struck down, but when Amendment One is struck down," said Brook.

In 2012, North Carolina voters approved Amendment One which added a ban on same-sex marriages to the state constitution.

Shortly after the 4th Circuit ruling, Attorney General Roy Cooper said he would no longer fight lawsuits seeking to overturn the state's ban, in light of the Richmond ruling.

He says any ruling on North Carolina's ban would likely be stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court turns down the appeal or makes a ruling.


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North Carolina's attorney general says his office will no long fight lawsuits seeking to overturn the state's gay marriage ban, in light of a federal appeals court ruling.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in in Richmond ruled Monday that Virginia's 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.

North Carolina is also in the 4th Circuit, and federal judges have to abide by the ruling when deciding cases. There are four pending cases in the state to overturn the 2012 constitutional amendment.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday's ruling is a good indication that the ban in North Carolina would also be struck down.

"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," said Cooper. "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."

He says any ruling on North Carolina's ban would likely be stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court turns down the appeal or makes a ruling.


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A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

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.

The 4th Circuit also includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia. The Virginia ruling could impact bans in some of those states as well.

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.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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