Some are saying it could be a matter of weeks before North Carolina's ban on same sex marriage is overturned. A ruling in the 4th Circuit court in Richmond Monday declared Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. That ruling is binding on the entire 4th circuit, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland.
Neil Siegel is a professor of law at Duke University. He says assuming the case is not retried, the outlook for North Carolina's ban is rather clear:
"If this ruling stands, then it means that Amendment One is going to be declared unconstitutional," Siegel said. "There's no plausible basis for distinguishing Virginia's same sex marriage ban from North Carolina's."
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Attorney General Roy Cooper cast a similar prediction, saying the state should no longer defend its ban on same-sex marriage.
"Our attorneys have vigorously argued this case every step of the way," Cooper said. "But the 4th Circuit has ruled, and the 4th Circuit ruling is clear, along with every federal court that has addressed this issue. Therefore there are really no arguments left to be made."
There are currently four cases challenging North Carolina's ban in court. Cooper says even if the ban is overturned, it will not likely result in any immediate change in North Carolina. Many are predicting a decision from the Supreme Court will be necessary before any practical change is put into affect.