State Sen. Mark Herring supported putting a same-sex marriage ban before voters. Eight years later, now-Attorney General Mark Herring says that law is unconstitutional.
“I continued to think about it like a lot of Americans everywhere have continued to think about this issue,” Herring said at a Richmond press conference Thursday morning.
Herring’s vote to issue the ban as a referendum in 2006 came with his pledge to seek other ways to end discrimination.
“I was wrong to stop short on marriage equality,” Herring said.
The Commonwealth will side with the plaintiffs in Bostic v. Rainey, a case challenging the legality of the marriage ban. Norfolk federal court Judge Arenda Wright Allen has scheduled an oral argument for Jan. 30.
Herring stressed that his decision comes from solid legal footing. Answering the criticism from Virginia Republicans questioning why an attorney general wouldn’t defend Virginia’s constitution, he said the Supreme Court has shown it is in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
“Too many times our citizens have had to lead the way on civil rights,” Herring added, “while their leaders stood against them.”