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Senator: Plan in place to oust AG

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Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014 10:53 am

MOREHEAD CITY — Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly plan to overrule or impeach the state’s attorney general following his statements on the recent appellate court ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriages in Virginia.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat who has all but announced his intention to run for governor in 2016, said July 28 that his office would no longer defend in court this state’s voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, called Amendment One. His comments came about two hours after a federal appeals court ruled the similar prohibition in neighboring Virginia as unconstitutional. He said the 4th Circuit Court ruling made it highly likely North Carolina’s ban will be overturned. That court hears appeals from the nine federal district courts, including North Carolina.

Sen. Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico and also representing Carteret County, said Thursday the top leadership in both GOP-controlled branches of the legislature are working to remove Mr. Cooper from office.

“Last year in the legislation we passed, was if both the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate come together, come to terms and say that the attorney general is not representing the citizens of North Carolina like they ought to be, then we have set-aside money to hire private counsel to represent us and that’s what’s getting ready to happen,” Mr. Sanderson said.

His comments came during the inaugural meeting of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party held upstairs at Floyd’s 1921 Restaurant on Bridges Street. About 16 were in attendance, including a News-Times reporter.

“If he’s not going to defend what we, the citizens of North Carolina, want him to defend, we need to probably impeach him because he’s been a vocal opponent of the marriage amendment ever since it was passed,” Mr. Sanderson said.

The senator said any action against Mr. Cooper would come only after a decision by Senate President Phil Berger, R-Guilford, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg. Mr. Tillis is also a candidate vying for Democrat Kay Hagan’s U.S. Senate seat.

“Our leadership hasn’t made the final decision but everything is on ready, set, go if that’s what we want to do,” Mr. Sanderson said.

The News-Times contacted the Attorney General’s Office today but Mr. Cooper was out of the office and unavailable for comment.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. The District of Columbia and 19 states now allow same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he will ask the Supreme Court to review the decision. Also a Democrat, Mr. Herring said he too has chosen not to defend his state’s law, but he asked the appeals court to stay its decision, citing risks of unintended consequences if same-sex marriages were to begin there. Mr. Herring’s office said it planned to make its filing seeking a Supreme Court review today.

Mr. Cooper likewise has said his decision didn’t mean same-sex marriages in North Carolina could begin immediately. That would take a judge’s ruling. But since the 4th Circuit also includes North Carolina, he said any federal judge in the state would be bound by the ruling out of Virginia.

On the day of the ruling, Mr. Cooper said further opposition to the four federal lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage would be “futile.”

Mr. Cooper said state attorneys had, before the ruling, “vigorously defended” North Carolina’s marriage law, calling it “their job.”

“But today we know our law almost surely will be overturned as well. Simply put, it is time to stop making arguments we will lose and instead move forward, knowing that the ultimate resolution will likely come from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Sanderson cast doubt on Mr. Cooper’s efforts and dismissed his position as going against the will of the people and the result of “ulterior” motives.

“He says he’s done his best to defend it. I guess you can take a man at his word, but I know that there are other people that have been watching over his shoulder saying there were things that could have been done that were not done,” Mr. Sanderson said.

He mentioned an organization, the name of which he couldn’t remember, “that’s been in on this with us since the beginning that’s going to take up the reins and carry that. If Attorney General Cooper decides that he’s not going to do it, we have that covered – we’re going to do it ourselves,” Mr. Sanderson said.

The senator told those in attendance at the Tea Party meeting to call Raleigh and voice their support for defending the state’s marriage ban. His audience was receptive.

“He has to defend a state law,” said a woman in attendance.

“This is partisan politics,” said a man at the meeting.

The group’s meeting had begun earlier with a discussion of its “core principals” and there was consensus that “godly changes” were needed in all levels of government and society due to moral decay and “lowered standards.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • francis posted at 9:05 am on Thu, Aug 14, 2014.

    francis Posts: 2900

    If you are going to quote something, quote it . Adding your two cents to the quote destroys all credibility.

  • synchroman posted at 2:48 pm on Wed, Aug 13, 2014.

    synchroman Posts: 3

    Dear Sen. Sanderson, the North Carolina Marriage amendment and sections of State General Statue Chapter 51: Marriage are both in violation on the North Carolina Constitution and the Federal Constitution.
    North Carolina Constitution
    Article I, Declaration of Rights
    Section I. The Equality and Rights persons:
    We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights (Freedoms and rights that each individual in North Carolina have which cannot be transferred to another person or surrendered except by the individual having those rights.) that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Article XIV, Miscellaneous
    Section 6. Marriage
    The passing of this amendment violates the North Carolina Constitution Article 1. Sec. 1 and Article I Section 5 Allegiance to the United States:
    Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

    Now Senator why do you want to force the Gay and Lesbian community to go into debt filing law suites to obtain rights that are already guaranteed.

  • synchroman posted at 2:17 pm on Wed, Aug 13, 2014.

    synchroman Posts: 3

    Dear Sen. Sanderson, 14% of registered voters do not constitute an overwhelming approval. Only 20% of the registered voters voted and many voters outside of the Triangle area were confused about the wording of the amendment thus casting an ill informed vote.

  • synchroman posted at 1:19 pm on Wed, Aug 13, 2014.

    synchroman Posts: 3

    It was another sad dark moment in the history of North Carolina when Senator Norm Sanderson told a meeting of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party that legislative leaders of the General Assembly were working on removing Attorney General Roy Cooper from office because he stated that it was futile to waste state financial resources defending North Carolina Marriage Amendment in light of the 4th District Circuit decision on Virginia’s ban on Marriage Equality.

    Sen. Sanderson would realize, if he was not blinded by bigotry, homophobia and hatred of gays and lesbians, that Marriage Equality in North Carolina would benefit the State financially as the business and technical community would look more favorably on North Carolina when looking to relocate or opening a new business in the State.
    Sen. Sanderson’s negative position on Marriage Equality only drives out our best daughters and sons because of being gay or lesbians or people of faith who do support Marriage Equality to states supporting equality.

    Senator Norm Sanderson, start Standing on the Side of Love, practice the teachings of Jesus and be mindful the inherent worth and dignity of all God’s people.

    May The Blessings Be

  • geoherb posted at 2:28 pm on Mon, Aug 11, 2014.

    geoherb Posts: 1

    Cooper's oath of office says he has to defend the U.S. Constitution and the N.C. Constitution so long as the N.C. Constitution is not inconsistent with the federal one. Cooper is upholding his oath since a federal court with jurisdiction over North Carolina has ruled that a similar state constitutional amendment was not constitutional.

  • CARTERETISCORRUPT posted at 4:14 pm on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.


    Cooper has always had his own agenda, separate from the law. We must rid ourselves of those who take the oath of office, then ignore it. The Constitution must be honored as the law of the land, all of it. It is not for these types to ignore, twist or bend the law of the land. Fairly applying the law is paramount.

  • Bukobong posted at 3:02 pm on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.

    Bukobong Posts: 18

    I couldn't have said it better! Another wannabe politician wasting tax money trying to get votes.

  • got2reply posted at 1:15 pm on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.

    got2reply Posts: 6

    The AG is taking his job seriously. Decisions made by the 4th Circuit are pertinent to NC. He did indicated that there is no need to waste time, effort, and taxpayers' dollars by continuing to defend NC's constitutional ban. BTW, this ban is unconstitutional in that it violates the civil rights of many NC citizens. If people could just understand that this issue is not about religious beliefs, we could get on with more important issues, which it sounds like the AG is trying to do. Impeaching him for knowing the law and being reasonable is about as dumb as trying to sue and/or impeach the president for doing his job.

  • DAS posted at 11:25 am on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.

    DAS Posts: 141

    Glaringly apparent that Sanderson is not speaking for the majority of NC citizens. He can't remember the organization? He claims that the attendance of 16 people at a restaurant constitutes a majority? Yikes it sounds more like a witch hunt on Sanderson's part. Personal lifestyle and who one loves is not anyone's business . It is all about throwing a distraction away from the issues that really matter in this State and the country as a whole right now. Too bad, I really used to like tea...

  • NANASIX posted at 11:20 am on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.

    NANASIX Posts: 61

    The AG only does what he wants.
    Several years ago I contacted his office about SOS Elaine Marshall and the illegal things she was doing, her incompetence & malfeasance of duty, and he advised it was his job to protect the SOS. I thought it was his job to protect the citizens. He needs to go now!

  • francis posted at 9:27 am on Sat, Aug 9, 2014.

    francis Posts: 2900

    The A G can say anything he wishes. It is all about what he, or his office, does. Enforcing the law is his job so if he chooses to not enforce the law, at that point a decision will have to be made.
    Don't give a rat's behind about this issue because it is not Govt's job to tell me who or what I can marry. Go ahead and marry a duck, I don't care. This kind of nonsense is taking up time and money that could be better used elsewhere. Time to grow up and take your job seriously or resign. Just my two cents.


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