In the wake of yesterday's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that Virginia's marriage discrimination amendment violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States Constitution, Roy Cooper -- North Carolina's Democratic attorney general -- announced at a press conference Monday afternoon that he would no longer defend his state's amendment.
The Huffington Post reports:
"Our attorneys have vigorously argued this case every step of the way," Cooper said. "But the 4th Circuit has ruled and the 4th Circuit is clear. There are really no arguments left to be made."
Since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit also has jurisdiction over North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia, Cooper predicted his state's ban would face a similar fate.
"Today we know our law almost certainly will be overturned as well," he said at the press conference.
North Carolina voters infamously approved the state's ban on same-sex marriage in May 2012 -- a move that was shown to be instantly out of date by President Barack Obama, who just one day later made history by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to endorse marriage equality. It was the last state to successfully pass such an amendment.
Yesterday's ruling doesn't just impact Virginia: once finalized, it will be binding precedent in the marriage discrimination state of North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia as well. South Carolina's Republican attorney general has vowed to continue defending his state's ban in court; his GOP counterpart in West Virginia says he does not intend to comment until the decision is finalized.