Virginia's AG: I Won't Defend Ban on Gay Marriage
Herring says law is unconstitutional
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2014 7:44 AM CST
Virginia Attorney General-elect Mark Herring smiles during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., in this Dec. 18, 2013 file photo.   (Steve Helber)

(Newser) – Virginia's brand new attorney general is wasting no time backing away from his controversial predecessor, telling NPR this morning that his office will no longer defend the state's ban on gay marriage. "As attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians' rights," said Mark Herring, who eked out a 165-vote victory in November. "The commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied." Herring's office said "a thorough legal review" had led him to conclude that "Virginia's current ban is in violation of the US constitution."

Herring, who campaigned on marriage equality in a state where half of registered voters now support it, will today file a brief in federal court to signal the state's new position, a spokesman tells the AP. NPR notes that one of the lawsuits against Virginia's ban, Bostic v. Rainey, is being argued by David Boies and Ted Olson—the legal team that took on California's Proposition 8. Many marriage equality advocates are hoping it goes all the way to the US Supreme Court.

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Jan 23, 2014 2:27 PM CST
Virginia is in trouble for sure!
Jan 23, 2014 10:52 AM CST
While I am personally in favor of "marriage equality" as its now referred to, I always have problems with AGs who won't support state laws. I tend towards the liberal and thought it ridiculous some of the things that Bush did to expand executive power infringing upon legislative powers, and have been appalled by the way Obama only expanded upon that. Is this any different when an AG decides what laws matter rather than the legislature?
Jan 23, 2014 10:44 AM CST
The Atoorney General's job, as defined by law, is to defend the State's laws to the beast of his office's ability. He can't just decide what laws he will and won't defend! Gay Marriage is an issue of State's rights, as it hasn't been found to be any other under the Supreme Court! This guy shoulkd be impeached for not doing his job; same as Obama's AG Eric Holder.