ACLU challenges appeal of gay marriage by NC lawmakers

Same-sex couples who challenged the gay marriage ban in federal court are fighting a judge’s order that gave Phil Berger and Thom Tillis, the Republican General Assembly leaders, standing to intervene.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed documents in federal court late last week challenging a ruling to let Berger and Tillis appeal one of two federal court rulings that legalized gay marriage in North Carolina.

The lawmakers have filed notice of their plans to appeal a ruling by U.S. District Judge William Osteen last month. Osteen was one of two federal judges in North Carolina to strike down a 2012 amendment to the state constitution.

In a statewide referendum in 2012, North Carolina voters approved an amendment to define marriage in this state as a union between a man and a woman.

A similar ban in Virginia has been declared unconstitutional by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which presides over North Carolina cases, too.

Among the arguments the ACLU plans to make in seeking to remove Berger and Tillis from the case are that the lawmakers did not intervene in a timely manner.

They also plan to argue that their effort to fight for the ban is “futile” and a waste of the court’s time, according to Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina. Brook pointed out that same-sex marriages have occurred in North Carolina for weeks, and while the ceremonies have been joyous and emotional, they have been “uneventful.”