This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued orders denying review of several marriage cases from across the country, including the Bostic case out of Virginia, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Commonwealth’s marriage statutes and marriage protection amendment are unconstitutional. On August 20, the Supreme Court issued an order putting the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in Bostic on hold until the High Court rendered a decision on the petition for review. Now, it appears that the Fourth Circuit decision striking Virginia’s marriage laws will go into effect.
North Carolina falls under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit, but it is unclear at this point what effect the Supreme Court’s action and the Fourth Circuit’s opinion will have on the status of our marriage laws. Four cases seeking to overturn North Carolina’s marriage statutes and marriage protection amendment are currently pending in federal district courts, but the facts and issues at hand differ from those in the Bostic case.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has said he will no longer defend our marriage laws in court. This means our last line of defense in these lawsuits is for Governor Pat McCrory and/or our state legislative leaders (N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker of the N.C. House Thom Tillis) to intervene as defendants in these cases. Otherwise, the 61 percent of North Carolina voters who voted to add the definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman to our State Constitution in May 2012 have no one representing our interests or our laws, including our State Constitution, before the court.