Dear Marriage Supporter,
There's some big news in the marriage fight this week to catch you up on, so let's get right to it.
First, we turn to Virginia.
A Lawyer Abandoning His Clients
It wasn't really a total surprise when the news came out this week that Virginia's new Attorney General, Mark Herring, has decided not to defend Virginia's marriage law against legal challenge. We've long suspected Herring to be on the side of radical redefinition of marriage, even though he said in his campaign that he would defend the amendment.
The headlines nonetheless gave a cold shock. Particularly the one from USA Today which read, "Virginia won't defend its same-sex marriage ban." Well, leaving aside the cynicism or agenda-driven bias that goes into calling laws such as Virginia's marriage amendment "same-sex marriage bans," the headline nonetheless hits upon the real travesty here.
Mark Herring is Virginia's Attorney General. He is duty-bound to defend Virginia's laws. Yet here he is, abandoning the people and law of Virginia to pursue his own selfish motives. The people of Virginia should be outraged to read that headline. Mark Herring may try to presume to speak for Virginia in this matter, but we know he doesn't. And we're going to make sure he gets that message, too.
The story is even more shocking, though. You see, not only is Herring not defending the law he's sworn to uphold and protect. No, this man so recently (and, may I say, so very narrowly) elected is going even further: He has announced that he will be joining the legal attack against the Virginia Constitution!
What a disgraceful spectacle, to see a state's own Attorney General not only abandoning his own state's interests and refusing to stand up for the will of the people of the state, but indeed turning around on them and attacking their own constitution!
Virginia voters decided to enshrine marriage in their constitution as the union of one man and one woman in 2006 — only a few years ago! Imagine standing outside the voting booth that day telling the voters that proudly cast their ballot in support of marriage that in a few years a reckless, self-motivated politician would cave to the pressures of a tiny radical lobby (albeit with big money to hand out) and try to flush their votes down the drain. They wouldn't have believed you! But now that very reality comes to pass.
We're not the only ones upset by this news. The Catholic Bishops of Virginia issued a joint statement of "extreme disappointment" with Herring's decision:
Virginia voters put this provision in the Constitution, and no politician should be able to reverse the people's decision. We call on the Attorney General to do the job he was elected to perform, which is to defend the state laws he agrees with, as well as those state laws with which he personally disagrees. [...] The Government of the Commonwealth of Virginia should preserve and defend this original design because the constituent majority that supported the constitutional amendment understands the unique benefit that marriage between a man and a woman provides to individual families and society at large.
For their own part, Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo pledged their own steadfast dedication to the cause of marriage: "We will continue to defend marriage between a man and a woman, an institution whose original design predates all governments and religions." These brave pastors deserve our commendation and praise!
These pastors know that Virginia stands for marriage, and they're sending that message to the Attorney General. Well, NOM intends to send the same message: and we're going to make sure he hears it.
Show Him the Door: Impeach Mark Herring!
Yesterday, NOM issued a public call for Mark Herring's impeachment.
As I explained in our press release:
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. 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.
The Chairman of NOM's Board of Directors, Professor John Eastman, pointed specifically to the fact of Herring's remaining involved in the case on the side opposed to the State's interests as "an egregious violation of 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.
And Professor Eastman is not alone in his assessment. Another legal analyst, a former U.S. Attorney, remarked yesterday on a radio show in Virginia that in his view Herring's actions were both "impeachment material" and "recall material."
We won't stand idly by while this elected public servant turns his back on the best interests and the common good of his own state and its people. NOM is going to lead the charge to fight back, and we hope we can rally the grassroots in Virginia to do the same.
An Important Step for HJR3
Also this week, the proposed marriage amendment in Indiana (HJR3) has passed out of committee in the House of Representatives and will head soon to the full House for a vote.
All Indiana voters should take the time today to contact your legislators and urge them to support Indianans' right to vote on marriage and to preserve the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, for the good of all Hoosiers of this and all future generations.
If you know anyone who lives in Indiana, please share this important action call with them!
Standing for Marriage in Salt Lake City
I want to invite anyone who lives in or around Utah to join me and other marriage supporters for a "Stand for Marriage" rally at the Utah State Capitol on January 28th.
Marriage Marches On
Finally this week, I want to share with you the exciting news that a date has been set for the second annual March for Marriage!
Details on this great and historic event will be forthcoming in the future weeks, but for now I can tell you that we will gather again in support of marriage in our nation's capital this summer — on June 19, 2014!
Please mark your calendars, and help us to spread the word about this exciting event by linking to www.MarriageMarch.org. You can also sign up there on the site for updates and donate to support the cause.
Thank you once again for all you do in support of marriage.
Brian S. Brown