TV reporter Roby Chavez and his partner Chris Roe share a moment as they pick their wedding cake at a bakery in Alexandria, Virginia, July 30, 2010.
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Virginia’s top lawyer turns on state’s gay marriage ban


Virginia’s attorney general announced that their gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and will not defend it against federal lawsuits.

It’s all thanks to the massive political shift that took place in November—for the first time in decades, all of Virginia’s top elected positions went to Democrats in the November election.

Democrat Mark Herring succeeded Ken Cuccinelli as attorney general; Cuccinelli’s social conservatism scuttled his gubernatorial campaign in November.

“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 wrote in a letter to the Associated Press.

On Thursday morning, Herring—a Democrat who campaigned on marriage equality—will file a brief siding with the plaintiffs who have sought to overturn the ruling preventing them from marrying.

It’s the second indication of the state’s 180 on gay marriage; on the day of his inauguration, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination against gay state employees.

Virginia is yet another state where public opinion on same-sex marriage has radically shifted in a short amount of time.

In 2006, 57% of voters approved the gay marriage ban, but recent polls have shown majority support for it.