American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Daughter of lawyer defending Prop. 8 comes out midway through trial

In her forthcoming book, Forcing the Spring, New York Time’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative journalist Jo Becker details behind-the-scenes accounts of AFER’s fight against Proposition 8.

Today, The Washington Post and Associated Press exposed Becker’s breaking story of how Ashley, the daughter of Prop.8 lawyer Chuck Cooper, came out to him midway through trial.

It had been midway through the case, during the interminable Ninth Circuit phase, when his wife confirmed what he had suspected for months. Debbie Cooper had known, even before her husband agreed to take the Proposition 8 case, that her daughter was a lesbian.

 Cooper, who had married Ashley’s mother when Ashley was just seven, accepted it without question.

’I know it’s not easy to talk about,’ Ashley recalled. ‘It’s not easy for anyone,’ he replied, ‘but I love you, and you love me, and that’s all that matters.’

Becker continues that Cooper often would reflect during trial on the strength of character and integrity of the plaintiffs fighting against Prop. 8

Ashley commented that she “sometimes wonder[s] if what made him so amazing to come out to was the experience of being part of that trial.”

Asked whether he now supports marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans, Cooper responds:

‘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.’

AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer acknowledged Cooper’s love and support for his family: “Chuck Cooper’s unwavering support for his daughter stands testament to the fact that every child deserves to be embraced by their parents and community as well as their government. Achieving full federal equality for all Americans will help realize that goal.”

Ashley is engaged to her fiancé, Casey, and will be married this summer.

Click here for more information on Forcing the Spring.