Gay marriage supporters push for quick NC ruling

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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RALEIGH, N.C. —

Lawyers challenging North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban say they will press for quick legal action after a federal appeals court found a similar law in Virginia is unconstitutional.

American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina legal director Chris Brook said Tuesday the group will file motions within days asking a U.S. District Court judge in Greensboro to rule based on Monday's decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The ACLU represents same-sex couples in two of the four cases challenging the ban that are currently pending in the state.

The 4th Circuit includes North Carolina. Attorney General Roy Cooper says it would be futile for his office to continue defending the law following the Virginia ruling. Supporters of the ban are vowing to continue the fight.

Michael Bitzer with Catawba College said Cooper is trying to draw political lines between himself and Gov. Pat McCrory who he may challenge in 2016 -- aligning himself with public opinion that increasingly supports gay marriage.

“He very quickly made that announcement and I think that’s what caught a lot of people off guard,” Bitzer said. “And were already starting to see the campaign themes line up for 2016.”

Bitzer said Cooper can look at higher authority and state officials said it’s the U.S. Constitution and its interpretation.

In addition, judges said the bans violate the Constitution.