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Snow delays same-sex marriage hearing

The rare snowstorm that hit Hampton Roads has forced postponement of Thursday’s scheduled hearing on Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban.

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen notified lawyers Wednesday that the Norfolk federal courthouse would be closed Thursday. The hearing will be re-scheduled in February as soon as practicable, the judge advised.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring had planned to attend the session as Solicitor General Stuart Raphael was scheduled to present the state’s case.

Herring is under fire from conservatives for switching the state’s position to oppose the ban on gay marriage.


  1. In taking their oath of office, the present governor, attorney general, and solicitor general of Virginia swore to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Constitution of the United States of America. In consequence, they are required to defend laws they believe to be unconstitutional.

    Both of Herring’s immediate predecessors as attorney general – Jerry Kilgore and Kenneth Cuccinelli II , stated publicly during their terms of office that they would not defend certain laws they believed to be unconstitutional – Kilgore in a brief he signed with others in 2003 (the details escape me) and Cuccinelli in a public debate in 2009 (“I will not defend what I, in my judgment, deem to be an unconstitutional law. If I determine it not to be constitutional, I will not defend it. My first obligation is to the Constitution and the people of Virginia”) and again in 2012, when he refused to defend a law that the governor under whom he served, Robert McDonnell, wanted the legislature to pass, which it did.

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: if Republican government officials opposed to marriage equality may lawfully refuse to defend state laws they hold to be unconstitutional, so too may Democratic government officials supporting marriage equality.

  2. A typo in my first paragraph: “they are required” should be “they are not required.”

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