Four Mean State Lawyers Standing in the Way of Marriage

Montana AG Tim Fox
Montana AG Tim Fox

Hey, come on, Attorneys General. Stop being such jerks.

We’re talking specifically to you, John Suthers (Colorado), J. B. Van Hollen (Wisconsin), Tim Fox (Montana), and Wayne Stenehjem (North Dakota). These awful guys are responsible for defending their state’s marriage equality bans, even after voters make it clear that they’ve had a change of heart on the issue.

Last week, a survey in Wisconsin showed that 56 percent of voters want the marriage ban overturned. (Just 37 percent want to keep it.) Nevertheless, Van Hollen filed a brief in an appeal of a ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. His colleagues in other states have taken similar measures, from filing briefs of their own to simply making loathsome public statements about defending discriminatory laws.

We’d be tempted to blame this all on men, but there’s at least one female Attorney General guilty of the same evilness: Pam Bondi of Florida, who’s fighting a whole bunch of lawsuits from gay and lesbian couples. Maybe this is one of those phenomena that should have stayed confined to Florida and spared the rest of the country.

Of course, they’re mostly hiding behind the “I have no choice but to defend state law” defense. But that’s no excuse: Attorneys General in Oregon and California took a look at the law, and decided that it was unconstitutional and unworthy of defense. And then there’s officials like Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall, who’s been issuing marriage licenses for about a month. Last week a court ruled that she was free to continue doing so, because even though the law is still on the books, it’s a terrible law.

So the next time you see a state Attorney General who says they have no choice but to defend a marriage ban, remember that that’s just code for: “I would rather pander to my anti-gay base than obey the U. S. Constitution.”