Compiled by Jesse Wood
Oct. 10, 2014. Below are a variety of statements on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week to not review appeals court rulings that struck down same-sex marriage bans.
Republicans Tillis, Berger Vow To Defend Will of N.C. Voters
House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) announced Monday they intend to formally intervene to defend North Carolina’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
More than 60 percent of North Carolina voters cast a ballot to add the marriage amendment to the state constitution in May 2012.
“The people of North Carolina have spoken, and while the Supreme Court has not issued a definitive ruling on the issue of traditional marriage, we are hopeful they will soon,” said Tillis and Berger. “Until then, we will vigorously defend the values of our state and the will of more than 60 percent of North Carolina voters who made it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on appeals from five states, including Virginia. Suits challenging similar laws across the country have not yet reached the Supreme Court. After a federal court ruled against a constitutional amendment supported by Virginia voters earlier this year, Attorney General Roy Cooper said he would no longer defend North Carolina’s broadly-supported law.
ACLU: U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Same-Sex Marriage Cases
The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it would not review appeals court rulings in seven states, including one from Virginia by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, striking down state bans on marriage for same-sex couples. The decision means that all of those rulings stand, and the states in their jurisdiction must comply with the law and recognize the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
North Carolina is one of five states in the Fourth Circuit. The Supreme Court’s announcement means that all states in the Fourth Circuit, including North Carolina, are bound by the Fourth Circuit’s ruling that struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
“The Supreme Court’s decision means that the freedom to marry for same-sex couples must be recognized here in North Carolina without delay,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “We are asking the district court here in North Carolina to immediately issue a ruling striking down North Carolina’s unconstitutional and discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Every day that gay and lesbian couples in North Carolina are denied the ability to marry the person they love places their families and children in legal and financial jeopardy. The time has come to end this unfair treatment once and for all and to let our American values of freedom and equality apply to all couples.”
The ACLU and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation have filed two federal lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, both in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro. The first, Fisher-Borne, et al., v. Smith, was filed in July 2013 as an amended complaint to a 2012 lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s ban on second parent adoptions on behalf of six families across the state headed by same-sex couples. On April 9, 2014, the ACLU filed a second federal lawsuit, Gerber and Berlin, et al., v. Cooper, on behalf of three married, same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their marriages. Because of the serious medical condition of one member of each couple, the Gerber plaintiffs are asking the court to take swift action.
The ACLU has asked the judge in those cases to quickly overturn North Carolina’s marriage ban in light of a July ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that found Virginia’s similar marriage ban unconstitutional.
To date, the ACLU has legal challenges to marriage bans pending in 13 states.
Governor McCrory Releases Statement on Supreme Court Decision
Governor Pat McCrory released the following statement:
“I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, which goes against the amendment that North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved. We will continue to respect the legal process as it proceeds.”
NCDP LGBT Caucus’ Statement on Marriage Equality
This week’s sudden and surprising legal events, which will open the door to same sex marriage in North Carolina is joyous news for all citizens who have advocated for equality. The LGBT Democrats of North Carolina join with our brothers and sisters across the state in celebrating this giant step forward in our quest for human rights and equality.
Amendment One and its aftermath left many of our communities and even our state divided. We as an organization were lucky and blessed to have leadership on the State Party level who encouraged us to continue our journey through the formation of County chapters. For that we will be forever grateful.
Speaker Thom Tillis’ filing is a desperate attempt by a US Senate candidate who is trying to revive his floundering campaign. Our work is not done. We realize there is much more to be advocated for and fought for on the legislative level. The LGBT Democrats of North Carolina will continue to fight for equality for all citizens.
Today, as we wait for our due rights, let us keep in mind the trailblazers who have gone before us (some of whom died for their beliefs). Let us also be aware that as LGBT Democrats we will continue the fight for workplace non-discrimination, Transgender rights and a host of other LGBT related issues.
In the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “We are not free unless we are all free.”
Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we go back to work.