The Tidewater Libertarian Party has released the following Statement on Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision to oppose, in Federal Court, the State’s Amendment refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.
OUR UNFAITHFUL SERVANT
The Tidewater Libertarian Party strongly opposed Virginia’s Amendment refusing to recognize same-sex marriage before it was ratified, and continues to advocate its repeal. Until that happens, it is the law in Virginia and an expression of the will of the people of the Commonwealth. If the Amendment were to be struck down as in conflict with the US Constitution, we would celebrate its fall. But until that happens, it remains Virginia’s law.
Mark Herring ran for and narrowly won the office of Attorney General, effectively, Virginia’s lawyer. It is his duty to represent the will of the people of Virginia, even if he disagrees with their choice.
It is not the duty of a lawyer to judge his client. Having accepted, and in this case, fought for the privilege of being Virginia’s lawyer, he has an obligation to place his client’s interest ahead of his own opinion, just as the lawyer of a guilty criminal defendant has an obligation to defend his client vigorously even if he is revolted by his acts.
A lawyer cannot refuse to defend his client unless there is no honest defense available and in no case can he act in conflict with his client’s interests while remaining in his employ.
Mark Herring has chosen not only to refuse to defend his client; he has taken the added step of joining the plaintiff’s side in opposition to his client.
To do so is a not only a failure in his duty to the Commonwealth, it is a knowing and deliberate conflict of interest. Before actively opposing the legislated will of the people of Virginia, he should resign as Virginia’s lawyer and provide for a transition to other representation.
If he fails to do so, he has failed in his duty as Attorney General and violated the canons of his profession. Should he continue his opposition to his client’s interests, he should be impeached and disbarred.
This was a controversial vote within the TLP. We strongly oppose the Defense of Marriage Amendment and we are sympathetic to Herring’s goal of ending it. But the Rule of Law requires that the Executive Branch submit to the legislature and to the people.
We urge the people of Virginia to demand their legislators begin the process of repeal of this vile amendment, but that it be done as an expression of the maturing values of the People of Virginia and not by the will of the elite through executive action.