Target: Attorney General of Virginia Mark Herring
Goal: Thank Virginia’s attorney general for lifting the state’s ban on gay marriages
Wanting to be ‘on the right side of history, and the right side of the law,’ the attorney general of Virginia decided to lift the ban on gay marriage in a landmark ruling that could influence other socially conservative states to follow suit. Federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma are among the states reconsidering gay marriage bans, but Virginia’s verdict is special because it resonates with the 1967 US Supreme Court decision that lifted the ban on interracial marriages.
Gay marriage bans are being tested as countless same-sex couples present lawsuits and appeals. Virginia’s lifting of the gay marriage ban comes after two couples, Timothy Bostic and Tony London, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley, applied for marriage licenses back in July of 2013, only to be denied. The lawsuits caught the attention of Attorney General Mark Herring, who is known for being anti-discrimination and pro-equality, and encouraged him to look at marriage differently. Herring recently stated in an interview with National Public Radio that
“…as attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians’ rights. The commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied…”
Back in 2006, however, Herring supported a Virginia amendment that outlined marriage as a union between a man and woman — which was overwhelmingly supported by over half of Virginians. Today, Herring realizes that he made a mistake stating further that “I saw very soon after that how that hurt a lot of people and it was very painful for a lot of people.” Since 2006, support for gay marriage has increased dramatically with almost half of all registered Virginian voters in favor of same-sex unions.
Although Republican lawmakers are expected to battle Herring on his recent change of heart, the decision marks a historical victory proving that equal opportunity for all is not lost. By signing this petition, you’ll applaud Attorney General Mark Herring for his compassion and progressive thinking.
Dear Attorney General Mark Herring,
As a fierce supporter of LGBT rights I am overwhelmingly delighted with your recent decision to lift the ban on gay marriage in Virginia. Needlessly discriminatory, narrow-minded, and intolerant, bans on gay marriage and even the refusal of civil unions severely affect same-sex couples and their families as they strive for equal representation, respect and thoughtful recognition. Your efforts are not only valorous but compassionate and progressive, coming at a time when America is moving into a new era where church and state are separated, and the rights of minorities and the underrepresented are considered.
By granting LGBT individuals the right to marry, you’ve made a powerful statement that I can only hope other conservative states will follow. I applaud your reversal of the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and commend your democratic efforts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steve Helber/AP via the guardian