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Va. governor rejects call to appoint prosecutor to defend gay marriage ban

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe on Monday rejected a request from dozens of Republican lawmakers asking him to appoint a special prosecutor to defend the state’s same sex marriage ban.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.)

In a letter to Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William, Va.), McAuliffe said the state’s ban was already receiving a “vigorous defense.”

Marshall had organized the request for outside counsel among GOP lawmakers after Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he believes the ban is unconstitutional, and that he would not defend it in court.

A spokesman for McAuliffe, a longtime supporter of marriage equality, told the Washington Post that he supports Herring’s decision.

In his letter to Marshall, McAuliffe noted that other officials outside of the attorney general’s office are fighting the ban.

“I share your view that the effective administration of our legal system requires zealous advocacy on all matters before the courts,” McAuliffe wrote. “In the present case, Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is being vigorously and appropriately defended by the Clerk of Court for the City of Norfolk and the Clerk of Court for Prince William County.”

The defendants are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Foundation of Virginia.

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“Accordingly, I respectfully decline to appoint special counsel in this matter,” he concluded.

The Attorney General’s actions have angered top Republicans in the state General Assembly, who passed a measure out of committee Monday that would give lawmakers legal status to intervene in legal challenges when the governor and attorney general decline to defend a Virginia law.

If passed by the full Assembly, it would then need to be considered by the Senate.

The Post also reported that Marshall is developing a legal ethics complaint against Herring on the premise that the attorney general has failed to properly represent his clients: the people of Virginia, the 57 percent of whom voted for the marriage ban in 2006.

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14 more reader comments:

  1. Good on them, looks like Virginia has got it’s stuff together. Unlike it’s neighboring state of NC, my home state!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 4:43pm
  2. Go Terry!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 4:45pm
  3. <3

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 4:48pm
  4. Can you smell the homophobic desperation!?

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 4:51pm
  5. *sniff* It smells like chicken....

    Replied on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 6:27pm
  6. I mean, in 2006, only 57% of Virginia was for the marriage ban…get over yourselves, bigots. This IS going to happen. NOH8

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 4:53pm
  7. Being from Virginia, this excites me to no end. I’ve lived in NC for 20+ years, and watching my home state makes me very happy. Got get them boys!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:02pm
  8. Poor ass hole bob marshall you lost again

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:10pm
  9. Because he’s AWESOME!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:37pm
  10. It is like little children talking back to their parents. The simply outrageous actions of the Republicans while quoting their “god” to condone their horrible behavior. Does their “god” allow such hatred, bigotry, racism, elitist attitudes and behaviors?

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:52pm
  11. There we go..what a difference an election makes!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:55pm
  12. Thank you Terry!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:58pm
  13. good

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:59pm
  14. It’s a losing battle! Save the money and help feed hungry kids or put it towards the schools or both!

    Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 6:44pm