Eventually, when it touches your life, you evolve.
Protect Marriage attorney Charles Cooper, who vigorously argued against the overturn of Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court last year, says his opinion on gay marriage is “evolving” now that his own daughter is planning to marry a woman.
The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country’s rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favour of allowing the unions. Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle.
And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process. “My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people’s do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago,” Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker’s book “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality.” Cooper’s words are reminiscent of the language President Barack Obama used throughout his first term to describe his “evolving” views on gay marriage. In 2012, Obama announced publicly that he did, in fact, support the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Cooper’s daughter will marry in Massachusetts in June. He says, “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.”
HRC president Chad Griffin reacts: “I spent the better part of five years sitting across courtroom aisles from Mr. Cooper, disagreeing with just about every word that came out of his mouth, but I have profound respect for his decision to love and celebrate his daughter and her fiancée because his story reflects the experience of so many of the 90 percent of Americans who personally know someone who is LGBT.”
Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier react: “We were so moved to hear of the Cooper family’s constant love and support of their own daughter, even as the Perry case was in full swing and Mr. Cooper was spending his days planning Prop 8’s defense. Some may find this contrast between public and private jarring, but in our opinion, loving an LGBT child unequivocally is the single most important thing any parent can do. We are overjoyed for Ashley and her fiancée, and we wish them the very best.”