NPR logo NPR News Interview: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring

NPR News Interview: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring


January 23, 2014; Washington, D.C. – In an interview with NPR News, Virginia's new Attorney General Mark Herring tells Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that his office will no longer defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The interview is airing today on Morning Edition; more is at NPR's news blog The Two-Way.

Herring tells NPR: "After a very careful and thorough analysis, I believe Virginia's ban on marriage between same-sex couples violates the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution, and as attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginian's rights. The Commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied."

NPR reports that Herring's solicitor general will tell a federal judge in Norfolk next week that Virginia is joining the plaintiffs in the case, that the state agrees that a ban on gay marriage denies some couples in the state what the Supreme Court has called a fundamental right.

When asked by Inskeep about his decision, given that 57 percent of Virginia voters approved the amendment to the state's constitution defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, Herring says: "There have been times in some key landmark cases where Virginia was on the wrong side; was on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of the law. And as Attorney General I'm going to make sure that the person presenting the state's legal position on behalf of the people of Virginia are on the right side of history and the right side of the law."

All excerpts from the interview must be credited to "NPR News." Broadcast outlets may use up to sixty (60) consecutive seconds of audio from the interview. Television usage must include on-screen chyron to "NPR News" with NPR logo.


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