Cuccinelli’s unique approach to the law

CUCCINELLI’S UNIQUE APPROACH TO THE LAW…. For a while, it seemed like every week there was a new controversy surrounding Virginia’s extremely conservative attorney general, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who has a habit of, shall we say, straying from the mainstream.

We haven’t heard too much from “The Cooch” lately, but rest assured, he’s still coming up with fascinating approaches to the law.

Marriages that take place outside of Virginia are not valid in the Commonwealth, even if the couple has obtained a legal Virginia marriage license and the ceremony is performed by a person authorized to do so in Virginia.

That’s according to a legal opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) in May in response to a question from the clerk of the Prince William County [in Virginia] court regarding a couple whose marriage ceremony took place in Bethesda [in Maryland]….

In the case of the marriage decision, Cuccinelli noted Virginia couples who wish to get married out of state have a variety of options at their disposal, including having a separate, brief, solemnization ceremony in Virginia in addition to an out-of-state event.

Now, I’m not an attorney, and can’t speak to the merit of Cuccinelli’s argument. But I know plenty of couples who were married outside of Virginia, and then moved to the Commonwealth, who assume state validity of their marriages isn’t a problem. I guess they’ll have to start scrambling?*

And speaking of Cuccinelli, I’ve neglected to mention that, just two weeks ago, the Virginia AG argued that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment was not designed to protect gay Americans. He was serious.

At this point, the list of Cuccinelli’s excesses is getting pretty long. Virginia’s AG has, after all, been palling around with radicals, recently considered a literacy test for some Virginians wishing to vote, questioned President Obama’s citizenship, rescinded legal protections for gays at Virginia universities, argued publicly that it doesn’t cost the public any money when he and his office work on a frivolous lawsuit, launched a bizarre climate change witch hunt, and, of course temporarily added a modesty shield to Virginia’s great seal.

And he’s only been in office since January.

* Update: The Post‘s reporting originally told readers, “Marry outside Va. and it may not count,” and I relied on this analysis for the post. The paper now seems to be walking that back a bit, noting a message from the state A.G.’s office that “Cuccinelli’s May decision confirmed existing law and has long been the guidance provided the Virginia Department of Health on its website.”