“Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth. ...” Article 1, Section 15A, VA Constitution, "I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me as Attorney General, according to the best of my ability (so help me God)." VA Oath of Office
“We call upon you … pursuant to your Oath of Office to defend the Constitution of Virginia (and) … provide adequate counsel to defend the people of Virginia in their Marriage Amendment to the Virginia Constitution which is now under legal challenge ….” (Members of the General Assembly)
“The … Attorney General, … offending against the Commonwealth by malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor may be impeached by the House of Delegates and prosecuted before the Senate ….” (Article IV, Section 17, VA Constitution)
“… Whereas General Herring … is violating his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, ... IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED that the House of Delegates should fulfill its constitutional duty by commencing the impeachment of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.” Draft Resolution for Consideration
At a Press Conference organized by the Virginia Christian Alliance and held in the General Assembly Building in Richmond last Wednesday, a score of pastors and lay leaders condemned Attorney General Mark Herring’s refusal to defend and, even worse, his plan to help overturn Virginia’s marriage law that was added to the Constitution in 2006 with the support of 57% of the vote. As Forum Chaplain John Sloop and others noted, “Herring can change his mind but he cannot change the Constitution.”
They have therefore charged Herring with a clear dereliction of his sworn duties and for violating core tenets of legal conduct, betraying the public trust, undermining public respect for the rule of law and the democratic process, and displaying a total lack of reverence for the procreative purpose of God’s manifest design for marriage uniquely between only one man and one woman.
VCA Chairman Don Blake concluded that “If he can’t defend the Constitution, he should resign or be impeached.”
Finally, in an Open Forum published today in the Daily News-Record and repeated below, Rita Dunaway challenged Herring’s legal arguments and joins the others in calling on him to resign if he cannot defend the Constitution of Virginia as written. Rita is the Deputy Director of the Family Forum and also Vice President for Public Policy of the Virginia Christian Alliance.
In response to these criticisms, AG Herring tried to shift the discussion and avoid the complaints by instead attacking what he referred to as a “handful of strident partisans and social conservatives who have been most vehemently opposed to treating gays and lesbians as equal Virginians.”
He also charged his critics with misunderstanding the role of the attorney general, whose primary responsibility is to represent the people of Virginia. Ignoring the majority of Virginians who voted for the marriage amendment, he added that “I will also be speaking for the same-sex couples who are being deprived of their constitutional right to marry.” This, despite the fact that neither the U.S. nor the Virginia Constitution contains such a “right”.
Et tu, Brute?!
Regrettably, after first stating that he would ensure that Virginia’s marriage law was adequately defended, Gov. Terry McAuliffe also rejected requests that he appoint a Special Counsel to take Herring’s place in court. Thus, he too is derelict in his sworn duty to support Virginia’s Constitution.
Call to Action: “Recant or Resign!
It is imperative that we express our concern for Herring's neglect of duty and disregard for the law. We cannot allow our elected officials to bow to the will of special interests and cherry-pick our Constitution.
Thus, please contact him directly and respectfully request that he perform his duty as Attorney General and defend the Marriage Law in Virginia’s Constitution. Otherwise, ask that he resign his office and give way to someone who will -- or face disciplinary action.
You can either call him at (804) 786-2071 or write him at mailOAG@oag.state.va.us
Warm Regards, for God and Country, Dean Welty
Earlier this month, we watched Mark Herring swear before God and the people of Virginia to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Commonwealth. In less than a few weeks, he has broken his promise.
Attorneys don't get to choose whether or not they will defend their clients.
If Mark Herring doesn't want to defend this case, and do the job he was elected to do, he should be impeached.
The residents of Virginia have spoken on the issue of same-sex marriage. If Mark Herring and Terry McAuliffe wanted a change, they should schedule another referendum & have a public debate in our democratic system.