Recent events in the effort to eliminate Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban have done nothing but reinforce the findings of the judge in the Oklahoma case who found that same-sex marriage bans serve no purpose other than demeaning a class of society.
The roar started when the newly elected Attorney General, Mark Herring, announced that Virginia would switch sides in the case from being a defendant to arguing with the plaintiffs. The usual suspects immediately began criticizing Herring, some going so far as to begin an impeachment attempt.
Their “reason” is that the Attorney General does not get to pick and choose which parts of Virginia’s constitution to defend but must defend them all. On the surface this actually sounds reasonable. But, it’s only part of the story. In addition to defending the Virginia constitution the AG must also defend the US constitution. In this case Herring has decided that Virginia’s constitution is in conflict with the US constitution.
There’s plenty of precedent for this. Most recently, then AG Ken Cuccinelli refused to defend a Virginia law in 2013 saying that he believed it was unconstitutional. Yet there was no outcry. No call for him to be removed from office.
What’s different in this case?
This outcry over Herring’s action and the soon to be wasted time and money by the General Assembly in a unwarranted and unwinnable effort to oust him just go to prove that the judge in the Oklahoma case was correct. The lawmakers like Bob Marshall only care about preventing gay Virginians from having any rights under the law and will go to any lengths to attempt to preserve that status quo.
The arguments hold no more water than they every have but it is certainly a sign of their desperation that the volume has increased to such a level.