Advocates of defending Virginia’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman today offered legal services to Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell, free of charge.[read_more]
The offer, from an organization called Liberty Counsel, comes on the heels of yesterday’s passage of a resolution in the House of Delegates authorizing Speaker Howell to hire counsel to represent the Commonwealth in ongoing litigation involving the marriage amendment.
As we’ve written previously, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has refused to defend the marriage amendment in court, and has in fact sided with those seeking to have it overturned as being in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. The resolution passed yesterday was prompted by Herring’s refusal to hire counsel to take his place and ensure that his client receives adequate representation.
In the floor debate on the resolution, Democrats made the point that there was no item in the budget that would specifically cover the expense of separate counsel hired by the House. They argued that it would be irresponsible to spend taxpayer funds on this, particularly given the budget shortfall the legislature dealt with earlier in the day.
However, Liberty Counsel is offering representation at no cost to Virginia’s taxpayers. It is unclear whether that means the representation is pro bono or if some third party (or parties) are funding the defense.
The letter from Liberty Counsel to Speaker Howell is embedded below. H/T to Del. Mark Berg (R-Winchester).