Lawyer Who Defended Prop 8 Now Helping His Daughter Plan Her Same-Sex Wedding

Charles Cooper-photoAccording to a new book chronicling the battle over marriage equality, the lead lawyer defending California’s Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court discovered his daughter was engaged to a woman after he took the case and is now helping to plan her wedding. The book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, shows how the man once voted the Republican lawyer of the year had a complete change of heart.

In the history of marriage equality “evolution,” Charles Cooper may have the strangest journey. Cooper was hired by ProtectMarriage.com, the group that put Prop 8 on the ballot, to defend the initiative. He had impeccable conservative credentials, having clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and served in the Reagan Justice Department.

But from the start, Cooper always seemed a bit ambivalent about his client. Most famously, when asked by California Judge Vaughn Walker what harm it would do to the state’s intention of encouraging heterosexual couples to wed if same-sex couples could too, Cooper replied, “Your honor, my answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know.” Cooper also reveals in the book that he especially admired the lesbian couple who challenged Prop 8, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier.

In December 2012, Ashley Lininger, Cooper’s step-daughter (whom he refers to as his daughter), told her dad that she was engaged to be married to a woman. Three months later, Cooper appeared before the Supreme Court to argue the case for Prop 8.

Unlike his legal opponents, Ted Olsen and David Boies, Cooper was always media shy about the case. He remains so, only issue a statement about In a statement issued this week, Cooper said, “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.”

Message to the anti-marriage right: You know your cause is lost when you lose your lead attorney to the other side.

Photo credit: Cooper & Kirk PLLC

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  • Cam

    So in other words, I’ll throw my daughter under the bus for a few bucks.

    On the bright side, finding out his daughter was a lesbian probably softened his stance during the trial.

  • Geoff B

    It’s easy to think “Oh, the minute it affected someone he loves, he changes his tune”. That was my first thought, but then you must take into account for public sentiment to shift as much as it has in recent years, A LOT of people must have changed their minds. Usually it’s because people find out a child, friend, family member or someone important to them is gay. I’d rather welcome him to our side and be glad he loves his daughter and future daughter in law enough to soften his stance than condemn him.

  • inside.im.dead

    So what? He wants to redeem himself because his daughter eats pussy instead of dick. Fuck ’em! He won’t score any points from me. You don’t go fuck over your own kind then try to make amends years later. Same goes for that fucking loser Ken Melman or whatever the fuck his name is; he was taking it up the ass or swallowing loads at the bathhouse all while trying to screw over his own kind. No sympathy from this queen!

  • Geoff B

    the two instances you cited are a little different. When someone who is gay actively participates in the oppression of gays, it’s a bit more loathesome (IMO) than someone who changes thier mind when they choose to love the person that comes out them and come to their side instead of holding on to their bigotry. either way, isn’t it better to have more people on our side than not?

  • Billy Budd

    If someone offered me $500,000 in exchange for the development of military weapons, I would refuse. This guy sold himself like a whore to an unjust and immoral cause. He should not be pardoned now.

  • samoanjoe

    @Geoff B: Totally agree.

  • Geoff B

    @Billy Budd: Yeah, I see your point, but in the past 20 years or so, monumental gains have been made, and that is only possible by millions of people changing their minds. Yeah, being the attorney on record for preserving Prop 8 is an especially assy thing to do, but when someone in that position changes their mind because he loves his family more than bigotry, isn’t that a good thing?

  • jwrappaport

    A friend of mine in the Air Force said something funny about lawyers like this: “Plenty of people don’t like soldiers, but everyone hates mercenaries.”

Comments are closed.