By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
December 23, 2013
The national push by same-sex marriage activists has gained traction this month with judges in Utah and New Mexico declaring the practice legal and a chapel at Fayetteville’s Fort Bragg hosting its first gay marriage “blessing.” Meanwhile the Christian Action League commended House and Senate leaders’ decision late last week to retain outside legal help with a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s own Marriage Protection Amendment.
New Mexico’s highest court released its ruling Dec. 19 saying that none of that state’s statutes specifically prohibit same-gender marriage, and that New Mexico can no longer prevent such marriages unless it can prove that disallowing the unions is “substantially related to an important government interest.” Utah’s ruling, issued a day later by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby, struck down state law approved by voters in 2004, saying that it conflicts with the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses. The state has appealed, and Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, released a statement calling for an end to judges’ “vetoing the voters from the bench.”
“I’ve always said we are losing ground more and more ground on being a government by the people, but have fallen to something akin to a judicial dictatorship, which is all the more reason North Carolina must do everything possible to defend the legal attack already underway on our state’s Marriage Protection Amendment,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
A statement released Dec. 20 by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) said the General Assembly is not formally intervening in the suit at this time, but that the pro bono outside counsel will provide “backup review of the attorney general’s work to ensure he is fulfilling his duty to vigorously defend the law.”
Dr. Creech said unfortunately the move is necessary considering Attorney General Roy Cooper’s outspoken support of homosexual activism and his obvious disdain for the law approved in 2012 by 61 percent of Tar Heel voters.
“It’s one thing to personally disagree with a law, but to campaign shoulder-to-shoulder with organizations whose sole purpose is to overturn it and then expect the people of our state to remain confident in your ability to defend that very same law is both illogical and unreasonable,” Dr. Creech said. “We’re glad to see lawmakers taking steps to try to ensure that this hard-fought amendment is not left unguarded.”
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition, had equally harsh words for Cooper, who plans to run for Governor.
“When a sitting Attorney General thinks more of his political ambitions than he does of defending the laws and constitution of North Carolina, it is time for the General Assembly to step in and take action to protect the people of North Carolina,” she said.
“… Cooper has broken rules which govern attorneys’ professional conduct and has compromised the position of the State in the pending lawsuit filed by the ACLU.”
State legislators are not the only ones taken aback by Cooper’s open criticism of laws he is sworn to defend.
Kirk Randleman, a former assistant attorney general who served under Cooper for nine years, told the New York Times in October that he was surprised by Cooper’s outspoken comments on matters that could come before his office.
“Cooper always insulated the staff from politics,” he said. “I have never known him to be so public about his personal views.”
Sen. Berger and Rep. Tillis released the following statement regarding the situation:
“North Carolinians deserve an attorney general who defends the law 100 percent of the time, regardless of political ambition — but observers across the political spectrum agree Roy Cooper’s own actions have raised legitimate concerns about his ability to uphold his oath of office. It’s unfortunate we have to take this step to ensure the voters’ strong support for a constitutional amendment protecting marriage is defended.”
The Raleigh News & Observer reported that the attorney retained to review the case is Byron Babione with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom.