- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Cuccinelli criticizes Obama for marriage stance
Question of the Day
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II is strongly criticizing the Obama administration for abandoning its defense of a federal law definingmarriage as a union between a man and a woman — the latest in a series of high-profile actions regarding gay marriage from the state’s top prosecutor.
“If you truly don’t think it’s constitutionally defensible, you don’t defend it,” said Mr. Cuccinelli, a Republican, said this week. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. “obviously thought it was for a while, and what changed? It’s kind of hard for me to see that when he doesn’t offer a constitutional analysis … to legitimize changing that position.”
In February, Mr. Holder announced the Justice Department would no longer defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
He defended the decision by saying new lawsuits had been filed in jurisdictions with no precedent on how laws regarding sexual orientation should be treated, and that a tougher standard should be applied to arguments against unions between same-sex couples.
In addition, President Obama also concluded that a section of the law “as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law” violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.
The department’s decision to abandon its defense of the law in court surprised both proponents and opponents of the law, but such a move is not unprecedented.
“Every attorney general has an opportunity to decide when an issue is a close question of law, what side they want to come down on,” said Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a lawyer for Equality Virginia and a former Virginia chief deputy attorney general. “As the law has evolved, so has his position. It’s not unusual, or wrong, or inherently political. It’s just the nature of the game. Reasonable lawyers disagree all the time.”
For example, Solicitor General Paul D. Clement declined to defend a federal law prohibiting the display of ads supporting medical marijuana on public buses and subways. After Mr. Holder’s announcement, the Republican-controlled House chose Mr. Clement to represent the body in defense of the act, and recently tripled the amount earmarked for the legal fight from $500,000 to up to $1.5 million, drawing ire from Democrats.
However,King & Spalding, the law firm for which Mr. Clement was working, announced in April it was dropping the case.
That did not sit well with Mr. Cuccinelli, who promptly fired the firm, which had been serving as special counsel to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office since September 2009.
The move “was such an obsequious act of weakness, that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients might be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from, the House of Representatives,” Mr. Cuccinelli wrote.
“Virginia simply cannot abide placing any reliance whatsoever on a law firm that makes decisions and acts in the manner of King & Spalding,” Mr. Cuccinelli continued. “For future reference, your firm is not welcome to reapply for special-counsel status at any time as long as I am the attorney general of Virginia.”
Firm partner Joseph E. Lynch, to whom the letter was addressed, declined to comment.
Mr. Cuccinelli has also become involved in several other gay-rights issues that have resulted in controversy.
He was criticized for advising state colleges and universities in early 2010 that they could not include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies without General Assembly approval.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Actress Glenn Close, advocacy groups prod Congress on mental health legislation
- Virginia conservative offers solution to bureaucratic nightmare regarding concealed weapons
- House retirements creating pickup opportunities for Democrats and Republicans
- Senate confirms Obama pick Jeh Johnson as Homeland Security secretary
- 75 is the new old: VA DMV study recommends fitness tests for aging drivers
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Calling prison term disparities unfair, Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow