Attorney General Mark R. Herring believes our Commonwealth’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths. He has had a front row seat as his home county of Loudoun has transformed itself and become more economically dynamic as it became more diverse and welcoming. He understands that immigration has been a source of economic and cultural benefit for Virginia for more than 400 years and is working each and every day to make sure that new Virginians are welcome here.
Attorney General Herring has been an outspoken advocate for minority communities, launching www.NoHateVA.com as a resource and seeking additional tools to protect those who are vulnerable from hate crimes and to hold perpetrators accountable.
Attorney General Herring was a national leader in fighting former President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban, successfully arguing that the ban was unconstitutional and based on religious bigotry and winning the nation’s first preliminary injunction against the ban.
In 2014, Attorney General Herring determined that Virginia DREAMers who were protected by DACA could qualify for in-state tuition and pursue an affordable education in their home state. Since then, hundreds of Virginia students have been able to pursue an affordable education in their home state.
Attorney General Herring is working to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, especially in communities of color, by providing additional training on 21st century policing skills like implicit bias, helping departments recruit more diverse officers, and encouraging positive interactions between officers and young people.
And he has worked to build a world class team of lawyers that reflects the diversity of the people they serve, including appointing the first African-American woman to serve as Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia.
Fighting For Equality
Just 12 days into his term, Attorney General Mark R. Herring took the historic step of joining the fight for marriage equality, winning at the district court and appeals court before the United States Supreme Court let the decision stand, bringing marriage equality to the Commonwealth within 10 months of his taking office. Attorney General Herring is the first state attorney general to successfully argue that his state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples should be struck down as unconstitutional.
Attorney General Herring wrote an official advisory opinion that said Virginia public schools can protect LGBT students, teachers, and employees from bullying, discrimination, and harassment. He also ended a policy of the previous administration that barred Virginia colleges and universities from establishing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies.
Attorney General Herring proposed and fought for an updated definition of “hate crime” to include LGBT Virginians, and for additional tools to prosecute suspected hate crimes. He signed an amicus brief in support of transgender students being able to receive an education in a comfortable environment. And he worked with then-Governor Terry McAuliffe to craft an Executive Order barring state contracts to companies who do not have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies, mirroring President Obama’s federal executive order.