When I went to the polls last November, it was primarily to cast one vote: for Mark Herring for AG. I knew that the other statewide candidates didn’t need my vote – they had plenty of folks who were going to push them over. But I was concerned that Herring, who, once elected, would be in a position to affect me significantly, needed every single vote that he could get. I keep reminding folks that this was the race that was going to be close, that this was the one we had to focus on.
I did not relish the thought of four years of Cuccinelli 2.0 I knew what it would mean, not just for me personally, but for Virginia. And, truthfully, it felt really, really good to vote for somebody, instead of against the other guy.
And I was right. Some folks who voted for governor didn’t bother to vote for AG. The race went to a recount.
My vote helped to propel Mark Herring to office. And today, he made me so proud of that vote.
There are those who talk the talk – and those who walk the walk. Herring convinced me the first time we sat down to chat that he was one who walks the walk. His action today should put everyone on notice that he will walk the walk.
From his email this afternoon:
A short time ago, I announced that after thorough but prompt legal review, I have concluded that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Therefore, I will not defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage in court later this month. The Commonwealth will instead side with the plaintiffs who have brought this case and side with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied.
This decision is based on my analysis of the law and my duty to fulfill the obligations of the office of attorney general. To defend a law that I have concluded is unconstitutional after thorough review would be a violation of my oath, a misuse of the office, and would be inconsistent with the precedents established by prior Virginia attorneys general.
Virginia is in many ways the cradle of democracy. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Mason, Monroe and others called our state home. And America’s first freedom, religious freedom, was written into law only a few blocks from my office in Richmond. As Virginians, we have much to be proud of. But too often in our history, our citizens have had to lead the way on civil rights while their leaders stood against them. This will not be another instance.
Mark is on the right side of history. And yes, I stand with him.
Being a triple minority makes me very aware of how easy it is to relegate people to second-class citizenship. That’s not the America that promises freedom and justice for all. All means all – not some.