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Same-Sex Marriage in Virginia: Fair? Right? Illegal? Inevitable?

Attorney General Mark Herring's opposition to state's ban draws wide range of reactions.

Attorney General Mark Herring announced last week that he supports same-sex couples seeking marriage in Virginia.
Attorney General Mark Herring announced last week that he supports same-sex couples seeking marriage in Virginia.
What do you think of Virginia's latest move toward same-sex marriage? Tell us in the comments section.

Attorney General Mark Herring announced last week that he supports same-sex couples seeking marriage in Virginia.

In the politically purple Virginia, a state that elected Herring by the slimmest of margins, the reactions to the attorney general's decision have shown the state's strong emotions on politics, religion, equality and the mingling of the three.

Political opponents have criticized Herring's decision, suggesting he should defend a ban on gay marriages. It's a law supported by a 2006 ballot measure — one Herring had supported at the time.

"Two weeks ago, I watched Mark Herring swear before God and the people of Virginia to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Commonwealth. It didn't take him long to get out of that," said Virginia Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, in the weekly republican address.

But, in his decision last week, Herring stressed the importance that Virginia stand on the right side of history on the issue of marriage equality. In its defense of Herring, The Washington Post noted the inevitable trail to marriage equality started with Supreme Court decisions in 2013.

"The constitutional case for equal marriage isn’t just strong; the ultimate arbiters of what is and is not constitutional are well on their way to saying so … The worst that can be said of Mr. Herring and officials doing similar things in other states is that they are running ahead of the Supreme Court. That’s a stretch of their official responsibilities, but it’s hardly a rank betrayal of duty."

What do you think of Virginia's latest move toward same-sex marriage? Tell us in the comments section.

Reactions from Patch readers have been varied, some even separating the controversy: supporting gay marriage while opposing Herring's decision.

 "I didn't like it when Cuccinelli sought to impose his views using the position," wrote Elaine Nixon. "And though I support gay marriage, I don't think Herring should do it, either."

Reader Joe Brewer passed on whether same-sex marriage should be legal in Virginia, but he said it shouldn't be Herring's decision. "More people voted for the marriage ban then voted for Herring … If it needs to be changed it should be a ballot issue."

And a comment from Andre Wells showed the dangers conservatives will face in making too much hay out of the issue on the campaign trail this year. 

"Astonishing amount of conservatives, who stick their nose into matters that don't concern or affect them," he wrote.

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