Lawyer Who Defended Prop 8 Before Supreme Court Reveals Daughter Is Gay And Getting Married

Attorney Charles J. Cooper CREDIT: AP
Attorney Charles J. Cooper CREDIT: AP

“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.”

Those are the words of Charles Cooper, the California defense attorney hired to defend California’s anti-marriage Proposition 8 law before the United States Supreme Court last year.

One year later, Cooper’s position appears to have evolved. According to a new book from New York Times journalist Jo Becker, midway through Proposition 8’s long battle in state and federal appellate courts, he learned that his stepdaughter was gay and planning to marry in her home state of Massachusetts. The engagement was announced right on the heels of the Supreme Court granting the Proposition 8 case a writ of certiorari in December 2012.

The Washington Post published a statement from Cooper:

“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.

He added: “As Becker reports in her book, I told Ashley that what matters most is that I love her and she loves me.”

Cooper said that he and his daughter discussed the delicate situation months before deliberations began before the Supreme Court, and left it up to her if she wanted to go public with the revelation during the proceedings. She erred on the side of privacy, while he continued to defend the law in court.

The news shines fresh light on the oral arguments made by Cooper in March of 2013 before the court. He explained to Justice Kagan that the defense’s position on same-sex marriage was essentially that because it couldn’t result in procreation, it shouldn’t be allowed.