Wednesday, July 27, 2005; Posted: 9:33 a.m. EDT (13:33 GMT)

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- A firefighter who married a fire captain's daughter was fired Tuesday after a judge ruled against a request to let him keep his job while he sues the city over its anti-nepotism policy.

The judge denied Matt Cooper's request, saying the city's policy is clear.

Cooper, 25, was told he was going to be fired after his June 18 marriage to Brooke Lowery, 21, the daughter of fire Capt. Herbie Lowery.

But Cooper sued to block the termination, claiming he is not the captain's immediate family member. Cooper also claims in his lawsuit that other city employees work in the same department as relatives.

Cooper's attorney Molly Elkin said she was disappointed, but the firefighter, who had worked with the Rock Hill department for 2 1/2 years, would continue to contest the matter.

"We still have a lawsuit," Elkin said.

It could be months before the case is heard; Cooper has requested a jury trial.

Cooper had temporarily won his job after a federal judge granted a restraining order. However, the decision Tuesday dismissed that order, and Cooper was fired during his shift that day, said city manager Carey Smith.

Rock Hill, a city of 54,000, is 20 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.