Craig Northcott

Coffee County District Attorney General Craig Northcott. 

Coffee County Attorney General Craig Northcott says gay couples who are victims of domestic violence don’t receive the same protection as other domestic violence victims in Coffee County because “there is no marriage to protect.”

Northcott made the comments in a video posted by Dean Bible Ministries in August 2018 that recently surfaced on Facebook.

Northcott said that “five people in black dresses rule us – it just takes five votes, it doesn’t take all nine,” referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage in June of 2015.

This decision has had ramifications on his job as a prosecutor, said Northcott. 

“DAs have what’s called prosecutorial discretion,” he said. “You all need to know who your DA is. You all give us a lot of authority, whether you know it or not. We can choose to prosecute anything, or we can choose not to prosecute anything up to and including murder – it’s our choice.”

“That decision had a lot bigger ramifications than a lot of people know. It had ramifications on my professional life.”

He had to choose how to deal with the criminal aspect when it came to homosexual marriage, said Northcott.

So he decided to charge offenders of domestic violence of gay couples with assault instead of domestic assault.

“You know what an assault is?” he said. “A guy gets drunk in a bar and punches someone on the nose, usually over a women, that’s an assault.”

The punishment for assault is not as serious as that for domestic assault, however.

“A domestic assault carries more punishment – you can forever lose the right to own a gun in a federal and state law, you have restrictions on your movement that you wouldn’t otherwise have under what we call a simple assault and there are other enhanced punishments,” Northcott said.

He then added “the social engineers on the Supreme Court decided we now have homosexual marriage and I disagree with them.”

“What I came down in my evaluation is the reason there is an enhanced punishment on a domestic violence is to recognize and protect the sanctity of marriage, and I say there is no marriage to protect, so I don’t prosecute them as domestics.”

About domestic violence law

Under Tennessee statute, the term for the crime of physical domestic violence is “domestic assault.” It is not limited to physical abuse. In addition to physical abuse, domestic violence includes emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse and spiritual abuse.

This issue impacts individuals of any age, gender and social status.

In Tennessee, domestic assault is a category of assault that has a specific type of victims.

The law doesn’t protect married individuals only. It’s a domestic assault when it’s committed against someone who is a: current or former spouse; cohabitant; dating or sexual partner; blood or adoptive relative; current or former relative by marriage; or adult or minor child of any of the above individuals.

Northcott has been reached out to for comments about this video; however, he has not responded.

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