Virginia AG Says Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, Joins Federal Lawsuit To Overturn

var addthis_config = {"data_track_addressbar":true}; The newly-elected Democratic Attorney General of Virginia has declared he believe the state ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Mark Herring says his will join a federal lawsuit challenging the ban instead of defending it in court. Herring's act is similar to that of Pennsylvania's Democratic Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, who also refused to defend her state's ban on same-sex marriage in court. "As attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians' rights," Herring told NPR this morning. "The commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied."

The federal lawsuit, Bostic v. Rainey, is being argued in court by the team of attorneys who brought down California's Prop 8, David Boies and Ted Olson. They have said they hope their case will also go to the Supreme Court and be "the beginning of the end." Herring narrowly won a close election against his Republican rival, and only recently was declared the winner. His predecessor, Ken Cuccinelli, had all but declared war against Virginia's LGBT community, and even went to the Supreme Court to try to get Virginia's anti-sodomy laws -- which the Court declared unconstitutional a decade ago -- reinstated. “Elections have consequences," state Democratic Del. Scott Surovell told the Washington Blade, "and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision makes clear that we must give full faith and credit to non-Virginia gay marriages." “Attorney General Herring is simply enforcing the law of the land as reflected [and] interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court six months ago,” Surovell added. Voters in 2006 banned same-sex marriage in Virginia, but, as the AP notes, "a Quinnipiac University poll in July found that 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage, while 43 percent oppose it." Image: Mark Herring for AG