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NOM Wants Virginia AG Impeached for Refusing to Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO


The National Organization for Marriage issued a spitting mad press release yesterday urging the impeachment of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring after Herring announced that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and he would refuse to defend it in court.

Watch Herring's announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

From NOM:

Brown"The Attorney General swore an oath that he would 'support...the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia' and faithfully discharge his duties, which include defending duly enacted laws like the state's marriage amendment," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "Yet now Attorney General Herring is participating in a lawsuit against the very people he is sworn to represent, the citizens of Virginia who preserved marriage in their constitution. This malfeasance and neglect of duty is not only a disgrace, it's an impeachable offense under the constitution."

Section 17 of the Virginia state constitution provides that the Attorney General may be impeached for "malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty or other high crime or misdemeanor."

Attorney General Herring announced today that not only would he abandon the defense of Virginia's marriage amendment, he would be filing a brief in federal court advocating the redefinition of marriage against the express decision of the voters of the commonwealth, who in 2006 voted overwhelmingly to amend their state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

EastmanProfessor John Eastman, Chairman of NOM's Board of Directors and a highly-regarded constitutional law expert called Herring's decision "lawless." He said, "The attorney general's decision to advocate against the state's marriage law is an egregious violation of his duty. Here you don't merely have the attorney general abandoning the defense of the law and remaining neutral - a decision which itself would be based on very dubious grounds. No, this goes further: Herring is staying involved in the case, and advocating directly for the side opposed to the interests of his clients, the people of Virginia. Any other lawyer pulling that kind of nonsense would be disbarred."

Watch Herring's announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. You've got to love NOM's persistence. I love the cockeyed logic that Herring's refusal to uphold discriminatory laws is "lawless." Maybe NOM could reinstate slavery, too?

    Posted by: Larry | Jan 24, 2014 8:18:03 AM

  2. Virginia AG Herring did NOT swear to uphold anything "unconstitutional", turd brain. You and NOM are f**cking losers on LGBT challenges to marriage equality. So, STFU and move on. You have lost!!!

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jan 24, 2014 8:20:41 AM

  3. Like we didn't see this coming from a billion miles away.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Jan 24, 2014 8:28:55 AM

  4. "Herring didn't answer Brown directly, but he did state today that his oath keeps him from defending an unconstitutional provision."

    Posted by: yup | Jan 24, 2014 8:32:27 AM

  5. No, Brian, defending unconstitutional laws is not part of his job description, no matter how much you wish it was.

    Posted by: Lymis | Jan 24, 2014 8:40:30 AM

  6. Did NOM call for Cukoocinelli's impeachment last year when as VA Attorney general he refused to defend a law regarding schools he found unconstitutional? I'm willing to bet they didn't.

    Posted by: Ready | Jan 24, 2014 8:46:32 AM

  7. Here's a question: even if Herring was supposed to defend the Commonwealth's laws no matter what, what exactly could he actually say convincingly in defense of the law if he doesn't believe in what he's defending?

    Posted by: WOLF | Jan 24, 2014 9:06:00 AM

  8. It's preposterous how the threat of impeachment is used so loosely. If you don't agree with someone else's political views, the "I" word is pulled out. It's very childish. Impeachment is only a process used to address grevious behavior and actions.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jan 24, 2014 9:10:36 AM

  9. Here's another thing, if you read the Supreme Court case "Ex parte Young," you will notice how the established precedent is that when a state official acts on, enforces, or defends an unconstitutional law, they do so no longer in their official capacity as a state officer, but as an individual. Very interesting, I think. If the law is found to be unconstitutional by a federal court, I feel that absolves Herring of his office's responsibility, if there even was any.

    Posted by: WOLF | Jan 24, 2014 9:13:14 AM

  10. NOM is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the United States, if it hasn't already become a non-factor. The only folks that seem to cover NOM or Brian Brown now are gay media outlets like Towleroad.

    At the moment, Brown and NOM can really only do damage overseas, which he has been doing in places like Russia.

    Posted by: Drew | Jan 24, 2014 9:23:33 AM

  11. NOM seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of Attorney General, something we also saw in Pennsylvania when the AG there came to the same conclusion. The AG's job is to defend the state constitution and if he or she determines that a law passed by the legislature or the people violates either the state or US Constitution, it is his or her job to defend the Constitution by taking a position against that law.

    Posted by: Jere | Jan 24, 2014 9:24:17 AM

  12. 2013 Washington Post poll found 56% of Virginia residents support Marriage Equality, up from 46% in 2011. So, Brian Brownshirt, things appear to've changed drastically since 2006, and that so-called 'overwhelming' support that the amendment received in 2006 is looking more and more moot. It sounds like the Virginia AG IS representing the will of the people. Go impeach yourself.

    Posted by: Impeaches and Herb | Jan 24, 2014 9:52:28 AM

  13. Is Bryan Brown's head getting bigger?

    Posted by: Richard | Jan 24, 2014 10:07:25 AM

  14. He also swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Since the US Constitution supersedes the Virginia Constitution, and because the federal courts are converging on a ruling that it is unconstitutional to single out same-sex couples, AG Herring would be engaging in malfeasance if he defended the ban.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Jan 24, 2014 10:31:45 AM

  15. I've got a great idea. Let's crate up the leadership of NOM and exile them to Iran. I'm sure they'll fit right in over there...

    Posted by: Robert M. | Jan 24, 2014 10:40:07 AM

  16. We ALL ought to be troubled by what the Virginia AG is doing here. It doesn't matter what the issue is. It is the job of an AG to defend the state's constitution, whether he as an individual personally believes in it or not. Laws and constitutions are larger than any one man, and it is his duty to defend that state constitution in a court of law.

    If the Supreme Court eventually rules against Virginia's constitutional provision regarding marriage, THEN it will be "unconstitutional"...but not until then. Until then, the AG of a state has a duty to defend that state's constitution, regardless of what we would like the final outcome to be.

    This ought to concern us as Americans because if an AG can do this in regards to this issue, an AG can do this in regards to any issue of his/her choosing, depending on the whims of whichever AG is in office. So then we're left to the whims of an individual, rather than that AG doing his/her duty and carrying out the responsibilities of his/her office.

    And that ought to frighten each and every one of us. Deeply. For then we no longer are a nation of laws, but a nation ruled by autocrats and the whims of a government official.

    Posted by: Jon | Jan 24, 2014 10:52:09 AM

  17. @Jon: He IS defending the state's constitution, because it's his office's assessment that the ban is a clear violation of it.

    Those who disagree with his position can step in to defend it, but there is no reason why an AG should defend something he believes is blatantly unconstitutional. His won't be the last word, just as the Nevada AG's decision to defend the ban in that state won't be the last word on marriage there.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 24, 2014 11:14:22 AM

  18. The Constitution of Virginia of 1872

    ARTICLE 1.


    1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have, certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity,namely: the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

    Posted by: elwoodl | Jan 24, 2014 11:26:17 AM

  19. Dear NOM, Get Stuffed. Sincerely, America.

    Posted by: FFS | Jan 24, 2014 11:47:24 AM

  20. The problem with AG's that don't defend state statutes is that it can lead to a nullification of referendums and laws the AG doesn't like. Don't like that the people of the state passed term limits?? Just get someone to sue in court and don't defend it! Since no one else has standing the AG can essentially veto any law he doesn't like. So, now any AG can have a post facto veto over any law and can collude w/ other state politicians in this regard. What we need is to increase standing opportunities in court.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 24, 2014 12:30:15 PM

  21. Wait...what's that word I'm trying to think of? Oh, yeah: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    What a bunch of NOM-skulls!

    Posted by: dommyluc | Jan 24, 2014 12:37:03 PM

  22. hey brian better pack up and move to russia because it really seems you are losing the war here

    Posted by: walter | Jan 24, 2014 1:34:55 PM

  23. What?! They wan the AG to go against his "deeply held belief"? Really?

    Posted by: bayhuntr | Jan 24, 2014 1:43:44 PM

  24. @Jon and @Anon, the law, and therefore the role of an AG, are not as simple as you seem to suppose. The couples harmed by the marriage ban are also the AG's constituents. His duty is to defend the public interests of the state but those interests are divided, and the laws protecting those interests are in conflict. In this case, the marriage ban was duly enacted, but then so was Virginia's liberty clause, and so was the 14th Amendment. Hence, the AG must weigh the interests that are in conflict and decide what takes precedence. He's not required to mindlessly defend whatever law is under attack, all others be damned.

    This case is pretty easy to weigh: enforcement of the marriage ban harms many Virginians. Non-enforcement of the ban harms no one. As for the right of Virginia voters to enact laws, the right to vote is not the right to vote for voting's sake, and it's not the right to impose one's will on others. It's the right to have a say in one's _own_ liberty and safety. No one has a right to defense of a vote that was not cast in the defense of one's own liberty or safety. The AG's failure to defend the bare will of the people does not in and of itself infringe anyone's rights. Thus, the proper role of the AG in this case--the role that best defends the interests of the whole public--is to defend those harmed by the marriage ban.

    Posted by: JJ | Jan 24, 2014 2:21:53 PM

  25. I find that picture of Brian Brown interesting. NOM never held a rally in DC (or anywhere else for that matter) with that many people in attendance. The people appear to have their backs turned to him. That appears to be the Mall in DC but I don't recognize the building behind him. It isn't wide enough to be the Lincoln Memorial and if it is the Capitol it is missing its dome.

    Posted by: Charlie | Jan 24, 2014 3:03:23 PM

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