CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory told NBC Charlotte Wednesday that he believes the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the state's gay marriage ban is constitutional. Earlier in the day, gay marriage supporters gave the Governor 12,000 petitions of people asking him not to defend the state's ban in ongoing lawsuits.
"We're going to let the process work. During that process we ought to have a stay to allow the current law to remain in place, but this is going to the Supreme Court for all the states," said McCrory.
Equality NC started the online drive, surpassing their goal of 10,000 signed petitions. It reads:
Gov. Pat McCrory – The 4th Circuit has spoken, challenging North Carolina's law banning same-sex couples from the freedom to marry. Now, it's up to our state leaders to help us stand on the right side of history—and with the people of North Carolina—by no longer defending this discriminatory marriage ban. That's why I'm calling on you and other state leaders to stop any costly defense of our state's marriage ban. Stand with us and help North Carolina to stand on the right side of history!
State Attorney General Roy Cooper said he'd no longer support the ban in court after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Virginia's ban unconstitutional. Republican legislative leaders have indicated they may retain outside counsel to represent the state in the existing lawsuits.
McCrory said if a court rules the ban unconstitutional, he wants a legal stay put in place pending a final decision.
"We should have stay to allow us to implement our current laws up until the Supreme Court decides this."
Even though he believes the high court will decide the issue, McCrory hasn't changed his mind.
"I firmly believe a marriage is between a man and woman, but I'm going to respect our Supreme Court and the constitution of the US, and that's what we ought to let happen."