Va. Senate defeats measure aimed at attorney general

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Virginia Senate has narrowly defeated a measure aimed at forcing the state attorney general to defend state laws when they are challenged. The bill sponsored by Del. Brenda Pogge, a Republican from James City County, was prompted by Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision last year not to defend Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The amendment was ultimately overturned in federal court, and gay couples have been getting married since October. Herring, a Democrat, determined that the Virginia amendment violated the federal Constitution, angering many Republicans Pogge’s bill passed the House 68-32 earlier this month. It was rejected Monday by the Senate when Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, cast a “no” vote to break a 20-20 tie. One Republican, Sen. John Watkins of Powhatan County, also voted “no.”

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