RALEIGH, NC — The attorney general of North Carolina has announced that he has ended his fight to defend the state’s constitutional marriage amendment, which enshrines marriage as being solely between a man and a woman.
As previously reported, in April, the Cleveland, Ohio-based United Church of Christ (UCC), which is outside of biblical orthodoxy and was the first American religious group to ordain homosexuals and affirm abortion, filed a suit in federal court to challenge the marriage amendment. Several local clergy members from within the UCC and those from other sects also joined the litigation.
The plaintiffs assert that North Carolina’s ban on same-sex “marriage” unlawfully bars them from serving a certain sector of the public, thus inhibiting their religious liberty to perform their clerical duties.
“By denying same-sex couples the right to marry and prohibiting religious denominations even from performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, the State of North Carolina stigmatizes same-sex couples, as well as the religious institutions and clergy that believe in equal rights,” the suit states, as reported by the Charlotte Observer.
Other named in the suit included Joe Hoffman of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville Robin Tanner of Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church; Jonathan Freirich of Temple Beth El; Nancy Kraft of Holy Trinity Lutheran, Nathan King of Trinity Reformed UCC in Concord; Mark Ward of Asheville Unitarian Universalist Congregation and Nancy Petty of Pullen Memorial Baptist in Raleigh.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who supports homosexual unions, originally sought to put aside his personal beliefs and defend Amendment One, a ballot initiative that passed with 61 percent of the vote in 2012. However, as the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling striking down Virginia’s same-sex “marriage” ban this week, Cooper concluded that it would be futile to defend North Carolina’s law as well. North Carolina is under the jurisdiction of the 4th Circuit Court.
“Today we know our law almost surely will be overturned,” he told reporters. “This doesn’t mean that same-sex marriages can start today, … but it does predict that our law will be struck down.”
“We don’t need to continue to waste taxpayer money to argue a case that you can’t win,” he added on Wednesday to local television station WFMY.
But some within the North Carolina legislature disagree, stating that Cooper is failing voters.
“Better than 60 percent of the people of North Carolina voted to have this provision put in our Constitution,” Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told the News & Observer. “I think the attorney general should defend the constitution that the people of North Carolina voted for.”
“The people spoke clearly on this issue,” added House Speaker Thom Tillis. “Too many politicians ignore the will of the people, and it is clear that the attorney general did just that today.”
A number of pastors throughout the state also recently rallied in Raleigh, imploring the government to defend God’s definition of marriage.
“The courts have put themselves above Almighty God,” lamented Mark Creech, the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
“It is not up to us to question what God defined as marriage in Genesis Chapter 2,” James Lochridge Jr., the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Kings Mountain added to the Shelby Star. “If our elected officials will not stand up for the Christian principles on which this country was founded, then we, the voters, need to elect those who will. America has been a great nation in the past because we have stood on God’s word from the beginning.”
The American Civil Liberties Union plans to file a legal motion next week requesting that North Carolina’s marriage amendment be overturned.