HERRING FLASHBACK: ‘I support marriage equality’

Posted at 5:36 PM, Nov 01, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - In less than a week, Virginians will head to the polls to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

CBS 6 has reached out to all the major party candidates and offered them an opportunity to connect with Virginia voters. So far the Libertarian candidate for governor, both lieutenant governor candidates, and both attorney general candidates have accepted the invitation.

Below is the transcript of anchor Bill Fitzgerald and Democratic Attorney General candidate's interview.

BILL FITZGERALD CBS 6: Presumably you would do things differently than the current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.  His position on gay marriage has been pretty clear.  You supported the 2006 amendment that effectively banned same-sex marriage in Virginia.

Would you defend that law as attorney general?

Attorney General candidate Mark Herring: “Well, I support marriage equality; I don’t think Virginia should be discriminating against any of our citizens as a matter of policy. The Supreme Court recently struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and sent a similar ban in California back, effectively nullifying it, which calls into question Virginia’s gay marriage ban. What I would do is work with the legal experts in the attorney general office. Make a careful, thoughtful determination as to whether I thought the law could be defended, and frankly right now I don’ t think it would withstand constitutional scrutiny.

BF/CBS 6: Your biggest donor is a super pac funded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.  A recent Quinnipiac poll shows most Virginians think Bloomberg shouldn’t be meddling into Virginia issues.  How do you respond to that given the money you've received from him?

Mark Herring:  “Well a lot of the money from out of state is flowing in now to both campaigns, and the national Republicans have poured in millions into my opponent’s campaign.”

What I think is more important is where we stand on the issues. And I think as voters see my record and my vision for the office and compare that to my opponents they are going to break in our favor, in significant ways. They are tired of the extreme social agenda of Obenshain and Cuccinelli. They are looking for state leaders who can work together and can get things done. That’s the reputation I have as a senator; being responsible, moderate, pragmatic and able to reach across the lines to move our Commonwealth forward.

BF/CBS 6: And guns are the issue most Virginians associate with Bloomberg.  Should Virginia gun owners be concerned with you as attorney general?

Mark Herring:  “I support the 2nd amendment but I also support reasonable common sense measures to protect against gun violence, like background checks, universal background checks—we also need to do more for mental health--and as attorney general, I ‘ll work on those.

BF/CBS6: When you announced you were running you said you would stand up for the right of women to make their own healthcare decisions without government interference.  You criticized Republicans for the ultrasound and clinic legislation.  But in 2010 you supported legislation to regulate crisis centers that offer anti-abortion counseling?  Isn't that, the same kind of government interference?

Mark Herring: “No I don’t think so. What I’m talking about is letting women have greater access to health care and making their own private health care decisions. And that is really what the debate is about. And I don’t think the government should get in between a woman and her doctor and making those personal health care choices.

BF/CBS6: So that crisis center you felt did offer something that was inappropriate or people got in between, which in that case should be regulated?

Mark Herring:  “I don’t think in that case they were offering the services that we’re talking about with women’s health clinics.

BF/CBS6: You criticized your opponent for accepting money from an out of state energy company—based in Pennsylvania--battling Virginia property owners over royalty payments.  But last year you opposed the amendment sponsored by Mark Obenshain to protect property rights. It was overwhelmingly approved. Would you change that now, your stance on that?

Mark Herring: “What I did was listen to a lot of people around the state—business owner were really concerned about it. The feeling is it’s going to lead to greater uncertainty greater ligations cost, and I don’t think that’s the right approach. But it’s the law of the land.

“What I think is the problem is that we have an attorney general who right now is siding against Virginia land owners. That out of state company has contributed over a hundred thousand to Cuccinelli campaign for governor. Now they are contributing heavily to senator. Obenshain’s campaign for attorney general, because they believe he will put their interests ahead of Virginia landowners.

As attorney general I will not let that happen, I will always be for Virginia and Virginia landowners first.

To see sample ballots for your county or city, and find out where you vote, click here.

The other candidate interviews are below, and all political stories are filed here.