ICYMI: Herring’s actions aren’t that unusual

Rainbow flagMy latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Friday.

Whenever I offer my opinion on a topic, I spend a lot of times researching. Sometimes, my research leads me to a conclusion that is different from what may be reported elsewhere; that is, after all, the purpose of research. Typically, I seek out experts on the subject, so that I get an understanding of the issue. When I offer my opinion, it is just that: an opinion based on my research.

The actual writing part typically takes me about an hour, with another hour for editing. That wasn’t the case when I was writing this op-ed. The more I delved in, the more questions I had. I talked to lawyers who supported AG Mark Herring’s actions and those opposed. I spent all day Wednesday, wrestling with this.

One might expect that I would be inclined to simply support AG Mark Herring’s position. As my Mama taught me, two wrongs don’t make a right. While I am pleased that Herring supports my marriage, I’m beyond the point where I can ignore the ramifications of such a decision if were not a legal or ethical change. As a CPA, I’m very aware of the Code of Ethics that we, as professionals, embrace, and how critical such things are.

From a legal standpoint, I found this SCOTUSBlog opinion more than a bit disconcerting:

This marked the first time that the top legal officer in a state in the South had begun supporting same-sex marriage under the Constitution.  Herring took the strongest position possible:  arguing that such a ban must be subjected to “strict scrutiny” and that, under that most rigorous test, the ban discriminates both on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.

That goes even further than the Obama administration has gone, and than any federal appeals court has gone.

Of course, as mentioned in this post, the 9th Circuit has expanded the constitutionality of marriage equality, prompting the Nevada AG to reconsider that state’s argument.

One of the lawyers with whom I spoke finally gave me a bit of clarity: who, exactly, are the clients of the Office of Attorney General?

And with that, I was able to offer my opinion.

Tomorrow morning, oral arguments will be heard in the Bostic case here in Norfolk, one that I was asked, but declined, to join as a plaintiff. I plan to be there to hear them. In the other case, filed in the Western District, I am already a plaintiff: class action status was granted last week.

Bart Hinkle, of the Richmond-Times Dispatch, wrote an article about the comparisons of marriage equality to Loving, a point that was made often in the time before the 2006 vote.

Marriage equality is coming to Virginia, one way or another. And Herring’s decision will be just a footnote to it.

My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot nor am I paid for my contributions to the paper.

3 thoughts on “ICYMI: Herring’s actions aren’t that unusual

  1. Mornin’ Vivian; Your editorial in the Pilot (Herring’s actions aren’t that unusual) was both well stated and researched, I thought. Matter of fact I mentioned it on Saturday while talking to several people about Herring’s decision to not defend the ban on same sex marriage in VA. They had missed the editorial and wanted to know where I’d seen it. You had a lot of interesting facts within the piece and it was obvious that you’d spent much time researching the past cases and decisions you cited. I had planned to drop you a note about it, but you know how those things go – the best of intentions, blah, blah & blah. Whether readers agreed with you or not, they couldn’t deny a lot of thought went into the piece. Regarding what you’ve written here, I agree – “Marriage equality is coming to Virginia, one way or another. And Herring’s decision will be just a footnote to it.” I would only ad that I think Herring’s footnote will be a very important one in that it displayed major turn in the actions other elected officials had formerly taken.

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