New AG Mark Herring Drops Marriage Equality Bomb on Virginia

Herring for Attorney General
Attorney General Mark Herring

This morning, Attorney General Mark Herring (D) announced he does not believe the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional and will no longer defend the law in court, according to the New York Times.

Herring’s decision comes after federal court rulings in Utah and Oklahoma that struck down laws forbidding same-sex marriages in those states. This is a marked shift from Virginia’s previously conservative position on marriage equality.

This morning, Herring spokesman Michael Kelly said the attorney general’s office planned to file a brief in Norfolk (where a challenge to the ban is being heard) to notify the court of the state’s decision.

“The Commonwealth will side with the plaintiffs in seeking to have the ban declared unconstitutional,” Mr. Kelly said in an email according to the New York Times.

“While Virginia has a storied place in the founding of our nation and has contributed to the development of our democracy, it has also been on the wrong side of court cases involving school desegregation, interracial marriage, and state-supported single-sex education,” Mr. Kelly said. He said Mr. Herring planned to say at a news conference Thursday morning, “It’s time for Virginia to be on the right side of the law, and the right side of history.”

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