Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution Thursday that would authorize the chamber to hire legal counsel to defend the sate's gay marriage ban.
In January, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced he would not be defending the state's discriminatory ban in court.
HR 566 started as a move to allow the branch to hire a lawyer to “represent the House of Delegates to halt any attempt by the Governor to expand the Medicaid program without the explicit approval of the General Assembly.”
But in language added in a reprinting of the bill today, a clause was added which would allow the republican dominated house to hire private council to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Specifically, it would allow the Speaker of the House, William J. Howell R-53 to hire counsel to represent the legislative body in state courts and gain the power to remove the AG for his “improper role in challenging Virginia’s marriage laws.”
The employed counsel would then be able to “represent the position of the Commonwealth in pending litigation involving the challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia’s marriage laws”
Responded Herring's Director of Communication Michael Kelly:
“Every court that has reviewed Virginia’s marriage ban has agreed with Attorney General Herring’s analysis and the author of Virginia’s modern constitution has said the Attorney General acted within his authority and duty. This is just an anti-equality measure wrapped up in the guise of the law."