Virginia attorney general: Our state's marriage equality ban is unconstitutional and I won't defend it

"It's a nice day to be an American," said an attorney for one of the couples involved in the case

Published January 23, 2014 2:51PM (EST)

                                                                                                  (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)
(AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

What a difference an election makes.

While former attorney general Ken Cuccinelli fought tooth and nail to defend and reinstate unconstitutional (and explicitly anti-LGBTQ) laws in Virginia, newly elected attorney general Mark Herring has announced his state's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional and that he will not defend it against federal lawsuits.

“After a thorough legal review of the matter, Attorney General Herring has concluded that Virginia’s current ban is in violation of the U.S. constitution and he will not defend it,” spokesman Michael Kelly announced in a statement to the Associated Press.

Herring, a Democrat who campaigned on marriage equality, will file a brief Thursday in support of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the marriage equality ban.

An attorney for one of the couples in the case told the Associated Press, "It's a nice day to be an American."

More to come as this story develops.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Lgbt Rights Lgbtq Rights Marriage Equality