Prop 8 defense lawyer helping to plan daughter’s same-sex wedding

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Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality. - PHOTO: Courtesy

Part-way through the trial on California's now defunct Proposition 8, the stepdaughter of the attorney defending the anti-gay ban came out as a lesbian.

Today the attorney, Charles J. Cooper, is helping daughter Ashley plan her same-sex marriage with her partner of several years.

This twist in the Prop 8 story was disclosed on April 17, coinciding with promotions for the upcoming publication of "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality" by journalist Jo Becker.

In the book, Becker writes about Cooper's defense of Prop 8, the voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and about the Cooper family. Debbie Cooper talks about how the plaintiffs in the case, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, were potential role models for her daughter.

Stier and Perry, in a statement released through the Human Rights Campaign, said today, "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."

Charles Cooper, who served in the Reagan Justice Department, is considered a top civil litigator for conservative causes. He agreed to defend Prop 8 in 2009, before his daughter came out to him.

Cooper continued his defense of Prop 8, but, according to HRC, he said he "rejoiced in their happiness" when he watched on the television as Perry and Stier marry at San Francisco City Hall last summer.

His stepdaughter is to marry in June.

“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," said HRC President Chad Griffin.