Friday, January 10, 2014

Soon to be AG Mark Herring will decide constitutionality of Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban

Attorney General-elect Mark Herring

Attorney General-elect Mark Herring

In Virginia’s constitution as passed by the majority of Virginia voters in 2006 marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. With the Federal government giving same-sex couples equal rights a lawsuit in Virginia has been brought by a gay couple from Norfolk who were denied a marriage license.

On January 30 in Norfolk the first hearing on a lawsuit brought by the couple and two other Richmond plaintiffs will be heard by Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

David Boies and Ted Olson joined the case at a  Sept. 30 press conference in D.C. . Both successfully argued California’s Proposition before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney General-elect Mark Herring will have to decide whether to defend Virginia’s ban enshrined in the Commonwealth’s constitution in lieu of the SCOTUS decision.

A month before the election in September of 2013 at a Roanoke Valley Democratic Women’s meeting I asked then Sen. Herring what if anything could be done about the ban following the U.S. Supreme Court decision. That decision does not overrule Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage

In 2006 Herring did vote to incorporate into Virginia’s constitution that marriage is only between a man and a woman. He has since changed his view he said and strongly suggested that it could be proven unconstitutional.

“As I look at it right now I’m skeptical the law can withstand constitutional challenge.” Herring said he would bring together the legal experts within the attorney general’s office and review very carefully the legal reasoning and make a determination on whether the law was constitutional or not – “but ultimately it would be for the courts to decide,” he said.

State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and state Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) have both filed bills this session leading to repeal of the the same-sex marriage ban.

Expect other challenges and scrutiny from an Attorney General Herring:

Herring said that the public process used to pass regulations on women’s health clinics was flawed. Ken Cuccinelli used incorrect tactics making the Virginia Board of Health think they didn’t have the authority to enact a routine grandfather provision. “Those type of regulations that the guidelines they were taken from say expressly they only apply to new construction. That legal opinion that the board did not have the authority to grandfather existing clinics was ‘blatantly wrong,’” said Herring. “Every set of regulations adopted under that code section has always contained a grandfather provision when applied to new construction.”

On Photo voter ID Herring said he would carefully scrutinize the voter suppression bills to see if they have a “discriminatory impact on minority voting.” He said he would stand up against that. Long lines is also a form of disenfranchisement he said.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, State Politics

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