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North Carolina’s Marriage Battle, Part 2

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2014 12:00 pm

North Carolina’s Marriage Battle, Part 2

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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August 30, 2014 12:00 pm

In Part 2 of a two-part series, NC  Family  president John Rustin continues a discussion with Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, about a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia’s marriage protection amendment and what that ruling means for North Carolina.

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This is family policy matter program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family and here's John Rushton, president of the North Carolina family policy Council, thank you for joining us this week. Profamily policy matters. It is to have Tammy Fitzgerald back on the program with Tammy is Executive Director of the NC values coalition, she formally served as chairwoman of the vote for marriage in C which was the official referendum committee that led the successful passage of North Carolina's marriage protection amendment in May 2012 Tammy is back to talk about the escalating legal threat to North Carolina's marriage laws, including the marriage amendment that was approved by 61% of North Carolinians in 2012 we will be talking about before federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's marriage laws as well as the recent decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit involving a similar challenge to Virginia's marriage laws and what that means for our state. Tammy welcome back to family policy matters. It's great to have you with us. Thank you John. Within about two hours of the release of the Fourth Circuit's opinion, North Carolina Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper held a press conference announcing that he and the Atty. Gen.'s office would no longer defend North Carolina's marriage laws including our constitutional amendment and he referred to any such efforts to do so as and I quote futile knowing that Atty. Gen. Cooper has publicly expressed his support of the redefinition of marriage and served last year as the keynote speaker at an annual fundraiser for equality North Carolina which is a statewide pro-homosexual lobbying group.

I suppose this comes as little surprise, but don't you consider his refusal to defend our state marriage laws and our Constitution, a dereliction of his duty. Absolutely any morning paper barely waited for the ink to dry on the fourth circuit's opinion before he gathered the Pratt to announce that he can and then longer defend North Carolina's marriage amendment that not telling that he indicated he intends to help overturn the amendment. He said he would no longer stand in the way advocated proceeding, which means he is not going to object to the legal argument put forward by the ACLU and their homosexual clients, but it also means that he's nodding and argue to stop the ACLU from from concluding the case in their favor.

It could even mean that he would argue that amendment should be overturned by the courts and we understand that Atty. Gen. had some discretion in deciding which laws to defend that in the case like this.

We had a state marriage amendment apart at the time patient it was voted on by the people of North Carolina on the ballot overwhelmingly by 61%. You would think that the Atty. Gen. would exercise his duties as Atty. Gen. to defend the will of the people, and yet he for keys to date today so and we think that's outrageous. Well, I deftly share your opinion on that and I think it's interesting to note that when he made this announcement.

He said that he thought again that it would be futile for North Carolina to continue to defend our laws and our constitutional amendment. But at the same time he also said that he thought this issue would ultimately be determined and decided by the United States Supreme Court so there was really a recognition that one of these cases either the case out of Virginia or case out of Utah or Oklahoma is going to make it up to the United States Supreme Court. So as you said this challenge to Virginia's marriage amendment is still very much in process it could be the case, the ghost of the Supreme Court, but are Atty. Gen. has just willingly removed himself from representing the state absolutely gone any until there is a final decision in the court lacked authority on the Bostic case from Virginia Roy Cooper should be in the fight representing the people and yet what he has done has removed himself from the fight. In other words, he's not even going to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court. If the Bostic case doesn't go to the Supreme Court and I might point out that Roy Cooper didn't file an amicus brief in the Bostic case when it was before the Fourth Circuit. He hasn't filed an amicus brief in any of the other circuit courts of appeal and there are six in all. In addition to the Fourth Circuit where cases are on appeal, and most of the state attorneys general have filed briefs and then cases will Tammy. I'm sure listeners wondering what in the world can we do in Carolina to defend marriage marriage laws and the constitutional amendment that they work so hard to pass back in 2012. Clearly there are a couple of additional options for parties state leaders in North Carolina to intervene in these cases you actually worked on a piece of legislation. At the end of the 2013 legislative session that gives our legislative leaders the authority to jointly intervene to defend the laws of the state in the Constitution and challenges just like this. So what what you believe can happen with the governor and our legislative leaders on as you point out. Fortunately, there are other leaders in the state who can intervene in this case and should intervene the governor himself had clearly has authority to intervene, especially when the Atty. Gen. has removed himself from the defense of the case and so we hope that Gov. McQuarrie will step forward and lead on the issue of protecting marriage, but he also pointed out, you and I work on this new statute that would allow the leader of the Senate and the house to agree on intervening on behalf of the people of North Carolina and that way the general family could represent the people, especially when the Atty. Gen. has refused to do so, that were hoping that that will happen and John email our listeners should feel free to United to write a letter encouraging them to do that and I certainly expect that one of them will either the governor or the legislature will step forward to defend the bettors of the state law will join you in that encouragement to both values coalition and the nuclear family policy Council have written formal letters to both the governor and our legislative leaders really urging them to get involved directly in these cases to intervene as defendants. So they definitely need to hear from folks all across the state who were concerned about this and that is a word of encouragement for them to to get involved and to defend our Constitution well in most legal experts do believe that the United States Supreme Court will eventually rule on the constitutionality of state marriage laws including marriage amendments either about taking up the Virginia marriage case or a case from another state of Utah or Oklahoma, which were the subject of lawsuits in the 10th circuit.

Some of the different ways to me that you believe the Harcourt could make a determination in one of these cases or another case that may make its way up to the Supreme Court. Well, there are a number of outcomes that are possible ending one out and is that the court won't even take at the state marriage amendment case and if that happens then whatever has happened in the Circuit Court will be law, and we have not had a circuit court yet rule in favor of the state marriage amendment now were hopeful that will happen in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal that we haven't had it in the two cases that have come down from circuit courts. They both ruled against state marriage amendment that will the US Supreme Court had refused to take up the case if there isn't a diversity between the circuit scene. Now we don't at least have one circuit rule for estate marriage amendment. Another outcome is that they do take at the case either from Utah or from Virginia and they decide in favor of state marriage amendment now that completely conceivable because in the winter case that came out from your Supreme Court last summer, Justice Kennedy think and recognize in the opinion that by authority and precedent and and really under the 10th amendment of the Constitution is state of always had the authority to regulate marriage policy for themselves and so I believe that that with a major affirmation if not the holding of the case that it's the state's authority to regulate marriage and even in the winter case which is the case that came out of New York. The court said that it is not lawful for the federal government to tip the scales in favor of traditional marriage in a state like New York or same-sex marriage is legal and what we hope the Supreme Court will decided that it likewise is not lawful for the federal government to tip the scales in favor of same-sex marriage in a state like North Carolina where traditional marriage is legal. Of course, on the opposite end of the scale is the other outcome which we have doesn't happen be the Supreme Court could decide that the fundamental right to marry include same-sex marriage, just like the Fourth Circuit and the 10th circuit have but decided and that we hope that certainly is not the outcome. We think that the D result of having the US Supreme Court pushed down at a decision of this importance upon the nation will be tumultuous and we believe that the the government enforcement that will be necessary to enforce this new definition of marriage on an unwilling populace will be unprecedented very helpful overview of where we stand. At this point think that legal experts anticipate that one of these cases is gonna make its way up to the Supreme Court sooner rather than later, and that the Supreme Court will be compelled to address this issue because it is he said it has caused so much controversy and just really kind of chaos across the nation will Tammy as we close our conversation for what advice would you give to our listeners who are watching this national marriage battle and who feel discouraged is they see one court after another strike down state marriage laws and even constitutional amendments where a majority of the voters in those states went to the polls and said we believe that it is important to place the definition of marriage as only the union of one man and one woman in our state constitution. What should we be praying for specifically here in North Carolina. In light of all that's going on what having to make important message I can say to people is don't give up hope. There is help and there's no wrong side of history and less people of moral integrity chief to sit idly by and we had history entries on our side in terms of how to define marriage so you can look at the pro-life movement in a back in the 1980s. It was so unpopular to be pro-life, that if you ran as a candidate backed in and said you were pro-life. It was like committing political suicide at the majority people in the country were pro-choice, especially the young people and all the elites were calling people stupid who were pro-life. They said you're on the wrong side of history and even churches were deciding that it was okay to be pro-choice, but now look where we count the majority people in the country are pro-life and overwhelming majority of young people are pro-life, more than their parents now is more popular to run as a pro-life candidate than a pro-choice candidate and a lot of churches have come back to a foundational view of being pro-life and that what is happening is that the hearts and minds of the culture have been one on the issue and said don't give up on marriage, even if we lose the battle in the courts. We still have the opportunity to win the hearts and minds of Americans and about our world culture through talking to him about the benefits of marriage.

The permanent aspects of marriage how it benefits children how it benefits our society and how it pleases God to recognize his definition of marriage, great words of encouragement and destroying you about it would just ask our listeners to just continue to pray about this issue.

Pray that the hearts and the minds of these judges ruling. In these cases, the attorneys who were representing the states with marriage amendments do so effectively and that ultimately the God will be glorified and honored in what transpires here to add to ask people to pray for, particularly in our four lawsuits in North Carolina pray for the attorneys representing the defendants in those cases, and said, specifically pray for that is registers of deeds and for their counties of attorneys that they would have courage in that they would not give up hope that would be a great thing to pray great, thank you for that. That's important because those are the folks that are really on the frontlines of these lawsuits will Tammy were nearly out of for this week. I really appreciate you taking so much time to talk with this work and I go to get more information about the values coalition. Thank you. Dante can get in the that empty and we do have a Facebook page and Twitter page. Thank you so much for the opportunity that North Carolina family policy Council is very essential to be easy. That effect the families of our state and I thank you for, well, thank you, Tammy, and it is a real pleasure and honor to be of the work side by side with you.

A lot of values coalition, and thanks again for being own family policy not you John's family policy matters is information and analysis of the North Carolina family policy Council join us with a discussion on policy issues affecting the family. If you have questions or comments. 919708 visit our website and see

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