Thursday, January 23, 2014

VA AG Announces End Of State's Defense of Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Elections have consequences! The sweep of Democrats of the three statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General in the November 2013 elections in Virginia is having a dramatic impact on the pending federal lawsuit on marriage equality in that state. Attorney General Mark Herring has announced that he believes Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and is filing a brief joining the same-sex couples represented by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (the group that filed the federal lawsuit that led to the restoration of marriage equality to California) in arguing that position in court.

The Washington Post reports:
Democrats cheered the move as a victory for civil rights while Republicans blasted it as dereliction of the attorney general’s duty to defend the state constitution. With the support of 57 percent of voters, Virginia amended its constitution in 2006 to ban gay marriage. 
Herring said his chief duty is to defend the U.S. Constitution. 
“The Supreme Court is clear: The United States Constitution is the law of the land, the supreme law of the land,” Herring said at a press conference. “I believe the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and I intend to ensure that Virginia is on the right side of history and the right side of the law.”
Joe.My.God posted video of Herring explaining his position:

Of course, the symbolic significance of Virginia taking a position in favor of marriage equality after arguing in court in 1967 against interracial marriage is not lost on anyone.

Exciting day!

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