Virginia Attorney General to Fight State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 23 2014 9:47 AM

Virginia Attorney General to Fight State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

164680731-andrea-grill-and-lee-ann-hopkins-from-alexandria-va
Andrea Grill (R) and Lee Ann Hopkins (L), from Alexandria, Va., embrace after becoming engaged during a rally outside of the U.S Supreme Court, on March 26, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Washington Post with the latest big news for the fight for marriage equality:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring will announce Thursday that he believes the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that Virginia will join two same-sex couples in asking a federal court to strike it down, according to an official close to the attorney general with knowledge about the decision.
The action will mark a stunning reversal in the state’s legal position on same-sex marriage and is a result of November elections in which Democrats swept the state’s top offices. Herring’s predecessor, Republican Ken Cuccinelli II, adamantly opposes gay marriage and had vowed to defend Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning such unions, which was passed in 2006 with the support of 57 percent of voters.
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Herring's decision also represents a personal reversal. While serving as a state senator nearly a decade ago, Herring had cast his vote against allowing gays and lesbians to wed. His views on the matter have clearly changed, however. According to the Post's sources (no doubt leaking the info with the blessing of the AG's office), Herring will say that Virginia has been on the "wrong side" of landmark legal battles before—those involving things like school desegregation and interracial marriage—and that this time his state should be on the "right side of the law and history" when it comes to same-sex marriage.

The AG's office didn't give state Republicans a heads up that today's announcement was in the works, according to the paper, so they're largely learning the news along with us. As the Post puts it: "an uproar is likely." Read more on today's announcement here.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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