Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring Will Not Enforce His State’s Ban on Gay Marriage

January 24, 2014

New Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says his decision to challenge his state’s ban on gay marriage, rather than defend it on behalf of the state, is part of an evolution in his views on the subject.

Herring announced his decision to side with plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on Thursday, a reversal from the position of his predecessor, Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

The Democrat, who was elected in November and took office this month, said though he voted against same sex marriage in the past, his views have changed. (Also on POLITICO: ACLU sues Utah over gay marriage)

“I had voted against marriage equality eight years ago back in 2006 even though at the time I was speaking out against discrimination and ways to end discrimination and I was wrong for not applying it to marriage,” Herring told NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Thursday. “I saw very soon after that how that hurt a lot of people and it was very painful for a lot of people.”

Herring said he spoke with constituents, co-workers and his family and has “come to see the issue very differently now.” His children played a role in his changing views, he said.

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