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Same-Sex Marriage Switch in Virginia

Attorney General Mark Herring issues sharp reversal, will oppose state's ban.

Attorney General Mark Herring will use his office to support recognition of same-sex couples in Virginia. Patch file photo.
Attorney General Mark Herring will use his office to support recognition of same-sex couples in Virginia. Patch file photo.
If ever there was proof that elections have consequences, a long-held defense of the state's same-sex marriage ban in Virginia has shifted to the state supporting an effort to overturn the law.

Several media sites, including The Washington Post, have reported that Attorney General Mark Herring is joining two couples in an attempt to strike down the state's marriage ban in federal court.

“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.”

What do you think? Is it time to end the state's same-sex marriage ban? Tell us in the comments section!

Read more of The Washington Post report.

In 2006, voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that banned recognition of same-sex couples. In November, voters in the state narrowly elected Herring, as well as Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who supported recognition of same-sex couples on the campaign stump.

The state Republican Party was one of several conservative voices blasting Herring's decision.

"It took Mark Herring less than a month to decide he doesn't want to be Attorney General," said GOP Chairman Pat Mullins in a statement. "The first job of Virginia's Attorney General is to be the Commonwealth's law firm, and to defend the duly passed laws of Commonwealth."

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization based in D.C., celebrated Herring's decision.

“Attorney General Herring joins the growing legal and public consensus that barriers to marriage for lesbian and gay couples do not protect anyone and only harm Virginia families," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.  “This courageous stand on behalf of the Commonwealth plants Virginia firmly on the right side of history."  
T Ailshire January 24, 2014 at 08:11 AM
I agree with those who believe marriage should be available to everyone, but Herring CHOSE to run for the office in which his JOB is to defend the Commonwealth's laws. Of course, Ken Cuccinelli also stated he didn't need to enforce laws he didn't believe in. When will we elect a person of integrity to that office?
T Ailshire January 24, 2014 at 08:12 AM
That response above is THREE paragraphs. Patch's software will not let one appear to understand proper English; it decides no one can have more than two paragraphs of comment.
chris S. January 24, 2014 at 08:38 AM
The trend to pick and choose which laws to enforce is alarming. I don't care what the issue of one's political or social leanings. The Atty General in both VA and the US is part of the executive branch. These issues are legislative and judicial. When that distinction is lost so will be our society.
Rebecca Newlin January 24, 2014 at 08:02 PM
This man voted FOR the Marriage Amendment in 2010. He was just elected to office of attorney general of Virginia by only 900-ish votes in an election that involved a recount and missing absentee ballots. He was sworn into this office two weeks ago and has now unilaterally decided that he is not going to uphold the Virginia Constitution! Time for some people to be removed from office!
joe brewer January 26, 2014 at 05:30 PM
More people voted for the marriage ban then voted for Herring. It was a vote of the people not just a legislative body hence my objection to Herrings legal maneuvering. If it needs to be changed it should be a ballot issue. If he wants something to work on try the MWAA. Are tolls reciepts taxed?
BERNIE WRIGHT January 27, 2014 at 08:03 AM
As I see it, this has nothing to do with same sex marriage. There is a law in place that the Attorney General is bound to defend. If he wants to become a political activist, resign his position as Virginia's TOP COP and go knock himself out.. This is as bad as the Attorney General across the river, making up laws as he goes about crippling the constitution.
Lee January 27, 2014 at 08:15 AM
HB 706 http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/01/24/virginia-lawmakers-seek-ability-defend-state-laws/
Leatherneck January 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM
The perfect Democrat supporter: a black unemployed illegal alien lesbian, who smokes pot.
Andre Wales January 27, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Astonishing amount of conservatives, who stick their nose into matters that don't concern or affect them, posting on local news articles...what an awful site.
Leatherneck January 27, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Has the Constitution which he says he's defending changed since the one he swore to uphold in 2006 when he voted against same-sex marriage in Virginia?? Hypocrite politician!!
Elaine Nixon January 27, 2014 at 01:23 PM
I didn't like it when Cuccinelli sought to impose his views using the position, and though I support gay marriage, I don't think Herring should do it, either.

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