Mark Herring Hub




Friday Speed Read: LGBT History, GetEQUAL, Wisconsin, Mark Herring, Hawaii, HIV, Trans Soldiers

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

StonewallPRESERVING HISTORY:

Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to announce this morning a new National Park Service study to identify places and events associated with the LGBT civil rights struggle movement “and ensure that the agency is telling a complete story of America’s heritage and history.” Currently, only New York City’s Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots against police harassment, has the designation as a national historic landmark by the National Park Service. Jewell will make the announcement at the Stonewall Inn, accompanied by gay philanthropist Tim Gill and New York City Councilman Corey Johnson.

DEMANDING MORE:

The LGBT activist group GetEQUAL said it will stage a demonstration outside today’s event at the Stonewall “to demand more from the White House than simply a study of our history.”

HATE VIOLENCE STEADY:

An annual report on LGBT-related hate violence, released Thursday, indicates the number of incidents reported in 2013 “stayed relatively consistent” with the number reported in 2012. Only 45 percent of survivors reported the attacks to police, notes the report, published by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

WisconsinDEMANDING SHORTCUT FAILS:

A lesbian couple who took their challenge to Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying directly to the state supreme court, without first going through lower courts, got an answer last week: The court won’t take the case.

IMPEACH HERRING EFFORT OFF:

A resolution seeking to impeach Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring because he refused to defend the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying was killed within minutes of its introduction, according to an NBC affiliate in Richmond. According to the station, a spokesperson for House Speaker Bill Howell said late last week that Howell “does not believe impeachment is an appropriate or practical recourse at the moment.”

AbercrombieHAWAII FIGHT HANGS ON:

The Hawaii Family Forum filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday seeking to keep alive a case, Jackson v. Abercrombie, testing the constitutionality of that state’s former ban on same-sex couples marrying. Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie and same-sex couple plaintiffs have argued the Ninth Circuit should dismiss the appeal because the Hawaiian legislature passed a law last year allowing same-sex couples to marry. The Forum, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, says new lawsuits challenging the new marriage equality law could succeed. If they do, says the Forum, then the plaintiffs in Jackson would almost certainly want to re-litigate the issue.

15,500 TRANS SOLDIERS:

The Williams Institute, an LGBT-oriented think tank, issued a report this month estimating there are 15,500 transgender or non-gender conforming people serving in active duty and another 134,300 retired from the U.S. military.  Current military medical policy prohibits transgender people from serving in the military. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC’s This Week program Sunday that he is open to having DOD review its policy banning transgender people from the military, but that it’s a “bit more complicated” than gays because of special medical needs.

TalkingGETTING BEYOND ‘AWKWARD’:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a new website last week to give gay men some tips on how and when to talk with their sexual partners about their HIV status. Among other things, the campaign suggests it’s better to talk “early” –early in the relationship and early in the evening. The talk about HIV status doesn’t have to be face to face; it can also take place through texting or email. The bottom line is to talk about HIV status so both parties can take precautions to avoid the spread of the virus.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Virginia Lawmaker Seeks to Impeach AG Mark Herring For Refusing to Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Bob marshallRabidly anti-gay Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (right) is calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Mark Herring (below) over his refusal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in court.

In an email to supporters, Marshall accused Herring of “removing all standards against same sex or sodomy ‘marriage’ in America, to the detriment of children and the well-being of society.”

The Washington Post reports:

Marshall (R-Prince William) took the rare step [towards impeachment inquiry] Thursday, two days after spotting Herring at a federal appeals court hearing over the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Herring’s support for overturning that ban and his decision last month to grant in-state college tuition to some Virginians who came to the country illegally as children are among the actions that pushed Marshall to action.

Mark herringOutside the courthouse in Richmond, which was besieged by protesters, Marshall and his wife bumped into a woman pushing a baby stroller and wearing an “Impeach Herring” button.

“It was my guardian angel saying, ‘Go ahead and do it,’ ” Marshall said in a telephone interview Thursday evening.

Marshall insisted the gesture is sincere and not meant merely as political theater. But opposition from the Republican speaker of the House of Delegates, where the state constitution calls for impeachment proceedings to begin, makes Marshall’s chances slim.

Marshall also threatened to impeach any judge who might overturn bans on same-sex marriage.

Marshall is well-known in Virginia for his past anti-gay campaigns, including his attempts blocking gays from serving in the Virginia National Guard, blocking the Gay Pride flag from being flown at the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, and blocking a judicial nominee on the grounds that he was “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.” He has also spoken at length about his belief that “sodomy is not a civil right.”


4th Circuit Court of Appeals to Hear Challenge to Virginia’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage this Tuesday

Bostic_london

Bostic v. Rainey – the Ted Olson and David Boies-backed challenge to Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is set to be heard before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this Tuesday.  

The AP looks at what might happen in the case before the court:

HerringA three-judge panel randomly selected from the 16-member appeals court will hear arguments from lawyers for both sides. The Richmond-based 4th Circuit, once widely considered the most conservative appeals court in the country, has become more moderate with the addition of five appointees by President Barack Obama. Lawyers typically face what they call a "hot bench," which means the judges ask a lot of questions. The court usually issues its rulings several weeks, or even months, after hearing arguments.

Last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring [pictured right] filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs in the case, a move that has drawn criticism from conservatives in the state. The job of defending the law during verbal arguments is now with the legal team of Norfolk’s Circuit Court clerk George E. Schaefer III – the clerk who originally denied Timothy Bostic and Tony London their marriage license.  


Virginia AG Mark Herring Joins Court Challenge to State’s Ban on Gay Marriage

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a brief supporting Bostic v. Rainey – the Ted Olson and David Boies-backed challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage that is currently awaiting further ruling in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The Virginian-Pilot reports:

Mark herringIn a 79-page brief filed Friday, Herring argued that the Supreme Court has consistently found marriage to be a fundamental right protected by the due process and equal protection clauses of the federal Constitution.

Herring leaned heavily on the 1967 Loving v. Virginia case, in which the Supreme Court overturned Virginia's ban on interracial marriage.

To argue that the framers of the Constitution never envisioned same-sex marriage is of no legal consequence, Herring argued. The Loving case, he said, taught that the Constitution "protects the fundamental right to marry, even if the way in which it is practiced would have surprised the Framers or made them feel uncomfortable."

Virginia's gay-marriage ban was enshrined in a state constitutional amendment in 2006.

"Many good and decent Virginians" undoubtedly voted for the amendment "because of sincerely held religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong or that gay marriage conflicts with Biblical teachings," Herring argued. "But religion cannot justify state-sponsored discrimination."

 You can read the brief in full, HERE


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

Va_herring

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...

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


Virginia Attorney General Says He Won't Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban in Court

Virginia

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and he won't be defending it in court, the AP reports:

HerringVirginia, widely considered a battleground state in the nationwide fight to grant same-sex couples the right to wed, will instead side with the plaintiffs who are seeking to have the ban struck down, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring said in an email to The Associated Press.

"After a thorough legal review of the matter, Attorney General Herring has concluded that Virginia's current ban is in violation of the U.S. constitution and he will not defend it," spokesman Michael Kelly wrote.

Herring, who campaigned in part on marriage equality, planned to file a brief Thursday morning with the federal court in Norfolk, where one of the lawsuits is being heard, as notification of the state's change in position in the case, Kelly said.

There are currently two federal marriage equality cases in Virginia. The American Foundation of Equal Rights (AFER) and Ted Olson and David Boies have taken the lead of one case originally filed by a local law firm. In the other case, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are representing plaintiffs.

More from Politico:

“I had voted against marriage equality eight years ago back in 2006 even though at the time I was speaking out against discrimination and ways to end discrimination and I was wrong for not applying it to marriage,” Herring told NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Thursday. “I saw very soon after that how that hurt a lot of people and it was very painful for a lot of people.”

Herring said he spoke with constituents, coworkers and his family and has “come to see the issue very differently now.” His children were a part of his changing views, he said.

“They were instructive about the relationships that people have and they were helpful in getting me to see a different perspective,” Herring said. “They pressed me for the position I had taken and made me continue to question it, and I just came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do.”


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