Gay marriage key distinction in attorney general debate

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) – Attorney General Mark Herring’s refusal to defend Virginia’s ban on gay marriage came under attack at a candidate debate.

Herring’s opponent in next month’s election, Republican John Adams, said at Friday’s debate in Leesburg that Herring neglected his duty as the state’s top lawyer when he refused to defend the state’s gay-marriage ban in court.

Adams said Herring was obligated to set his personal views aside and defend the law.

Herring countered that the law was indefensible because it restricted constitutionally protected freedoms, and said his view was vindicated when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning gay marriage.

Herring is seeking a second term as attorney general. Adams, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is making his first run for public office.

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