North Carolina's attorney general says it would be a waste of time to defend his state's same-sex marriage ban in court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over North Carolina, ruled today that a marriage ban in Virginia violates the U.S. Constitution. So North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper said his own state's law, which was approved by voters in 2012 with 61 percent of the vote, would likely be struck down by that same court, making any defense of it futile. The constitutionality of marriage bans must now be decided by the Supreme Court, he said.
"Simply put, it is time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward," Cooper said according to the Associated Press, "knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court."
The Fourth Circuit also presides over South Carolina, West Virginia, and Maryland (which already has marriage equality). The ruling will go into effect in 21 days unless the defendants file a motion and win a stay.
Likewise, the Tenth Circuit has ruled against state marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma, and it also has jurisdiction over Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico. The federal appeals court decision, combined with rulings at the state level, triggered some Colorado counties to start issuing marriage licenses even though there is a stay on the Tenth Circuit ruling pending its appeal to the Supreme Court.
Watch Cooper's remarks, via Raleigh's WNCN, below.