Thursday, January 23, 2014

NOM's Brian Brown wants to impeach VA attorney general for support of marriage equality

I'm such a bad boy for enjoying this but I can't help myself.

One of the delights of the recent announcement of VA's Attorney General Mark Herring's recent announcement that he will be fighting against the state's ban on marriage equality is the reaction of anti-gay groups.

Particularly the National Organization for Marriage, whose president, Brian Brown, threw a hissy fit and called for Herring's impeachment:

Virginia gives Brian Brown something to weep about.
"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."

Nice try, Bri-Bri, but according to Think Progress, Herring's decision is not without precedent:

The oath of office for the Attorney General of Virginia — which Herring took earlier this month — includes a solemn vows first to “support the constitution of the United States” and second to support “the constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution makes clear that the federal constitution takes precedence over state constitutions — so when the two are in conflict, it is absolutely up to the Attorney General to make that decision. As the person duly elected to make that judgment, Herring, rather than an un-elected lobbyist or state legislators who choose to ignore the federal constitution’s supremacy, is exactly the person tasked by Virginia’s citizenry with determining which laws to defend.

Moreover, two recent Republican Attorneys General of Virginia — both Family Foundation favorites who had the support of Howell and Marshall — also made clear that they would not defend what they believed to be unconstitutional. In 2003, then-Attorney General Jerry Kilgore joined dozens of his counterparts from other states in signing a brief claiming that he was duty bound to challenge any statute he believed be unconstitutional. A year later, the Family Foundation’s Cobb donated to his gubernatorial campaign and she even served on one of his advisory boards.

Herring’s immediate predecessor, Ken Cuccinelli II, also refused to defend laws he deemed unconstitutional. Last year, one of his spokesmen noted, “If the attorney general’s analysis shows that a law is unconstitutional, he has a legal obligation to not defend it.” Indeed in 2009, Cuccinelli himself said in a debate, “I will not defend what I, in my judgment, deem to be an unconstitutional law.” “If I determine it not to be constitutional,” he explained then, “I will not defend it. My first obligation is to the Constitution and the people of Virginia.”

Don't you just love it when members of the anti-gay right throw useless tantrums. Maybe we will be lucky the next time things go our way. Perhaps Brown will threaten to hold his breath.

1 comment:

Roberta said...

The persons who think he is wrong in his decision to support something involving the evolution of human society need to go somewhere and do intimate things to themselves n the name of whatever they believe in.