Often times, the downticket races get the least attention, and in this case, the downticket of the three major offices up for election in Virginia is the one that is closest in the polls, and depending on who wins it will have major consequences as far as women's rights and the rights to equality for all.
The Democratic nominee for Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Virginia is State Senator Mark Herring. He is running against a Republican State Senator who is as anti-choice as eventual gubernatorial loser and historical footnote, Ken "The Cooch" Cuccinelli. That Republican is Mark Obenshain. Below the fleur-de-Kos is info on Herring and how to help win the Attorney General's office for the good guys(and gals)
As Attorney General, Mark will take politics out of the office and apply laws evenly and fairly. Unlike our current Attorney General, Mark will never intentionally misinterpret the law or misuse his position of power in order to achieve a particular policy outcome. Mark will work to repeal the extreme policies by:Herring would also fight to promote equally across the Commonwealth. His Equality Agenda is to 1.) protect LGBT from discrimination using his powers as Attorney General.
Issuing an opinion affirming that the Virginia State Board of Health does have the legal authority to grandfather existing women’s health centers under the licensing standards in place in 2011;
Supporting legislative efforts to repeal the TRAP law altogether;
Continuing to support the efforts to repeal the legislation mandating a medically unnecessary transabdominal ultrasound prior to an abortion; and
Fiercely opposing new legislative threats to women’s reproductive rights such as measures designed to restrict access to contraception.
He will reverse the opinion issued by then Attorney General Bob McDonnell that says the Governor does not have the authority to issue an executive order protecting LGBT workers in state government from discrimination. Mark believes that the Governor, as chief personnel officer, clearly has this power as exercised by both Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, [emphasis added by diarist] and he will issue an opinion that confirms that the new Governor is authorized by law to offer the protection of an executive order to all state employees.2.) fight against bullying and attempts to ban Gay Straight Alliances and 3.) fight for equal rights for same-gender families
Mark will adopt a nondiscrimination policy for the Office of Attorney General that protects all employees from discrimination and includes sexual orientation and gender identity. As a member of the State Senate, Mark has co-sponsored legislation that would codify protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for all public workers. He will continue to support this legislative effort as Attorney General.
Mark Herring believes that civil marriage is a fundamental right, and he supports marriage equality for same-gender couples. In addition, as he works to change the current law prohibiting such marriages, Mark will work with state and local agencies to define ways to allow same-gender couples to access state-provided employee health and life insurance benefits without violating the current constitutional prohibition on relationship recognition.Herring's opponent, Obenshain is very anti-choice. He once tried to require women to report miscarriages to the police within 24 hours of it happening. Obenshain also believes that forcing women to go an invasive, medically unnecessary ultrasound is "common sense".
Mark Herring supports changing Virginia law to permit second-parent adoptions. Second-parent adoption would guarantee a child who is adopted by same-gender couples critical rights such as:
■ Legally protected financial support from both parents
■ The ability to be covered by either parent’s health insurance plan
■ The ability of both parents to make key decisions regarding the child’s health and welfare
■ The guarantee that in the event of the death of one of the parents, the other parent retains legal custody
Obenshain is also very anti-LGBT. Like his soulmate The Cooch, Obenshain refuses to acknowledge Lawrence v. Texas and would fight to restore Virginia's bigoted anti-sodomy law. And there's this classy gesture:
In January, 2013, Obenshain walked off the Senate floor rather than support former Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, who is openly gay, for a Richmond General District Court judgeship. In 2012, other GOP extremists in the House of Delagate blocked Thorne-Begland’s appointment but were out maneuvered by the Richmond Circuit Court judges who appointed him on an interim bases after Thorne-Begland received unanimous backing from the five largest mega-law firms based in Virginia.There are of course other issues where Herring is right and Obenshain is very wrong like gun safety, but the proof in in the putting as far as Mark Herring being the only choice that we have for our brothers and sisters in Virginia. Let's make it a clean sweep this November, and take back the Commonwealth from extreme Tea-Party Republicans and get Virginia back to the 21st Century.