By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
April 18, 2014
Anyone tracking key upcoming events in the timeline for same-sex marriage suits is going to need more than a pocket calendar as the significant dates keep piling up. But at least one North Carolinian — Attorney General Roy Cooper — is hoping the latest legal filing from the American Civil Liberties Union won’t appear on any docket until the Fourth Circuit Court announces its ruling in a Virginia case later this year.
The ACLU suit, centered on creating sympathy for lesbian couples who have medical issues or ill children and who were wed in other states but now demand that North Carolina recognize their unions, was filed the first week of April. Cooper, who supports gay marriage but has said he will defend the state’s Marriage Amendment, has until April 28 to respond, after which the ACLU will have a week to file any reaction to his arguments.
But because the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear the case on Virginia’s overturned Marriage Amendment in Richmond on May 13, Cooper wants the North Carolina case put on hold. In fact, he says the higher court’s decision “will certainly impact, potentially resolve and could serve as binding precedent” for two North Carolina cases. The ACLU had initially challenged the state’s adoption laws in a lawsuit that was broadened, with Cooper’s blessing, to attack the Marriage Amendment head-on.
U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen Jr. already appears to be waiting for the Fourth Circuit ruling before pushing that case, Fisher-Borne et al. v. Smith, ahead, a delay that is drawing criticism.
“There is some open speculation that the younger Osteen (the judge replaced his late father, William L. Osteen Sr.) is in the process of punting on the marriage amendment case,” wrote bloggers for the Triad Conservative, who characterized the elder Osteen as a “strong man of faith.”
“One would hope that, given the fact that he is a southern Republican judge having been raised in a Christian home, he would do his best to deliver an opinion that is tight and well-constructed in support of the marriage amendment,” the Triad Conservative reported. “He has ample legal and constitutional basis to do so. If he were to deliver such an opinion, it would be on the record; and appellate and Supreme Court judges could later weigh its merits against the loosey-goosey nonsense produced by the judicial activists. Otherwise, there would be virtually no substantive record of decisions supporting state-based marriage amendments.”
“Sometimes, people with integrity need to step out in faith, and do the right thing, even if it might be costly. Sometimes they must do so even if it risks their own career advancement or their own standing,” the blog reads.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said no doubt Cooper is hoping against hope that the Fourth Circuit will rule to uphold the lower court which struck down Virginia’s law, despite a vote of the people.
“So much for any kind of vigorous defense of the state’s Constitution, as Cooper had promised,” said Dr. Creech. “The only thing we see vigor in are the efforts of Cooper and Judge Osteen to avoid having to deal with the matter at all.”
He said the latest developments in the push for same-sex marriage indicate just how far from the people the judiciary has moved.