Attorney General Visits Local Middle School

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring visited Skyline Middle School Tuesday morning.

While much of the trip was lighthearted, the trip happened as the fight over gay marriage in Virginia continues to take shape.

In the light of the recent Supreme Court case, which struck down Section III of the Defense of Marriage Act, Herring said with the federal lawsuit in Harrisonburg challenging Virginia's ban it is unclear whether this case will be put on hold while the 4th Circuit Court decides the Bostic case coming out of Norfolk also challenging the gay marriage ban.

Lawyers in that case have agreed upon speeding up the case and they expect the whole argument to be heard in May.

Herring believes that under the constitution, the law guarantees equal treatment and that the Supreme Court has said time and time again that individuals have a fundamental right to marry and make that decision independently.

"It was time that Virginia be on the right side of the law and on the right side of history and I can't tell you how much support I have gotten from people who are so glad their state is on the right side of the law and that's what I was focused on," said Herring.

Herring also said although Dwight Jones, who was recently named as the new head of the Democratic Party of Virginia, opposes same-sex marriage, he thinks he will make a good chairman and has done a lot for Democratic values.

The attorney general also recently announced a statewide 22-stop public safety tour.

One of those stops will be in Waynesboro at the Yancey Municipal Building on March 28 at 9 a.m.

He said the goal of the public safety tours is to listen to law enforcement across the state while hearing about emerging threats and addressing how the Attorney General's Office can help meet these challenges.

Herring said his trip to Skyline Middle School, although not part of the tour, met that goal.

Some of the letters he received from students were related to public safety concerns that are of interest to young people, such as bullying, cyber crime and domestic violence.

He said this tour shows the importance of collaboration.

"Different departments and different agencies can be more successful at strategies in keeping our communities and neighborhoods safe when we share information and work together," said Herring.


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