Gay Marriage Foe Who Defended Prop. 8 Before the U.S. Supreme Court Defends His Daughter's Gay Marriage

Friday, April 18, 2014
Charles Cooper (photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images)

Having finished planning the legal strategy for defending California's Proposition 8 ban of gay marriage that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, attorney Charles Cooper is now reportedly helping plan the marriage of his gay daughter.

A new book by journalist Jo Becker, “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality,” reveals that Cooper learned his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the legal fight careened through state and federal courts on its way to Washington. That apparently didn't stop him from arguing, “It is reasonable to be very concerned that redefining marriage . . . as a genderless institution, could well lead, over time, to harms to that institution and to the interests that society has always has always used that institution to address.”

Cooper gave a statement to the Washington Post this week that strikes a different tone and makes a slightly different argument: “My family is typical of families all across America. We love each other; we stand up for each other; and we pray for, and rejoice in, each other’s happiness. My daughter Ashley’s path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey’s family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks.”

Cooper's original position, before he evolved, was centered around the argument that gay people should not be allowed to wed because the institution of marriage is reserved for those frisky critters who plan to procreate.

When Justice Elena Kagan told Cooper, “It seems as though your principal argument is that same-sex and opposite - opposite-sex couples are not similarly situated, because opposite-sex couples can procreate, same-sex couples cannot, and the state's principal interest in marriage is in regulating procreation” and asked, “Is that basically correct?” he responded, “That's the essential thrust of our, our position, yes.”

Cooper is no longer thrusting in that direction.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Lawyer Who Defended Prop 8 Before Supreme Court Reveals Daughter Is Gay And Getting Married (by Adam Peck, Think Progress)

Prop 8 Lawyer's Views on Gay Marriage Evolving (by Julie Pace, Associated Press)

Daughter Of Lawyer Who Defended Anti-Gay Prop 8 Comes Out, Getting Married (by John Aravosis, America Blog)

U.S. Supreme Court Clears Way for More Wrangling in State over Gay Marriage (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

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