Virginia AG Reverses State’s Position on Gay Marriage Recognition Toward Support

Yesterday, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s office
filed an important notice in a lawsuit challenging the state’s
constitutional ban on gay marriage recognition. His office is

reversing course
under its new leadership. Herring has decided
that the ban is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution and “will not defend the constitutionality of those
laws, will argue for their being declared unconstitutional, and
will work to ensure both sides of the law are responsibly and
vigorously briefed and argued before the courts to facilitate a
decision on the merits, consistent with the rule of law.” He added
that his office will still enforce the ban during the challenge, so
gay Virginians should not go rushing off to their county clerks’
office just yet.

Herring, a Democrat, acknowledged that he originally voted for
this amendment himself when it was passed in 2006, but said in a
press conference that he was wrong. Watch his comments below:


Herring noted Virginia’s history of defending racial segregation
in schools, laws against mixed-race marriages and expressed the
desire to, for once, “be on the right side of history,” a phrase
that always used to baffle me but that I’ve now come to realize is
just simply code for “The polls have shifted and I don’t see them
shifting back anytime soon.”

Anyway, according to The Washington Post, some
Republican lawmakers are looking around for a way to
defend the law
without Herring’s support. Herring is also
accused of hypocrisy for criticizing former Republican Attorney
General Ken Cuccinelli as using the office for his own type of
activism. Indeed, the
submitted by Herring’s office even uses Cuccinelli’s
refusal to defend a constitutional challenge to a law last year as
a precedent for Herring’s decision. Any attorney general candidate
claiming to want to reduce the politicization or activism of the
office should be laughed at in any event.

Meanwhile, also keep an eye on Indiana. Lawmakers there are
trying to buck the current trend toward recognizing gay marriages.
They are trying to put an
amendment to the state’s constitution
before voters in November
that would not only block recognition but also similar arrangements
like civil unions.

from Hit & Run

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