Roy Cooper speaks out against magistrate opt-out law

Published: Jun. 12, 2015 at 10:17 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2015 at 10:17 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - North Carolina's attorney general is speaking out against the new law that will let magistrates opt-out of performing same-sex marriages.

“Just like many pieces of legislation this General Assembly has passed and this governor has signed, it is likely to be challenged constitutionally,” Roy Cooper said Tuesday in Wilmington.

But Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, didn't sign the measure into law. He vetoed it. But his action was overturned by the GOP-controlled legislature.

Cooper, a Democrat, said he is “making plans” to run for governor in 2016, explaining “It won't be too long” before he makes an official announcement.

Cooper said the law is the kind of legislation that turns businesses away.

“We need to be welcoming as a state,” he said. “I think we need to encourage having all kinds of people here, and I think some businesses look with scorn at states who pass these kinds of laws. So, I think it's bad for jobs. I think it's bad for our families. I think it's bad for the economy.”

Last year, Cooper refused to defend the state's same-sex ban in court.

“Our office defends the state when it gets sued,” he said when asked if he would defend the new law. “That's the job of the Attorney General's office.”

In response to our interview with Cooper, Ricky Diaz, NCGOP Spokesperson, sent the following statement, "Unfortunately for North Carolina, our attorney general has a bad habit of picking and choosing which laws he wants to defend and abdicating his responsibilities as our chief law enforcement officer. That's not a leader.”

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