Wis. AG Candidate Won’t Defend Ban on Gay Marriage
Democratic state Rep. Jon Richards pledged Wednesday to be "the people’s attorney general," and said if elected he wouldn’t defend at least two Wisconsin laws that he believes violate the U.S. Constitution or go against the wishes of the people.
Richards, 50, said he wants to see the attorney general’s office be more aggressive about issues such as protecting consumers’ rights and combatting the spread of illegal drugs.
For example, he called upon the state Department of Justice to investigate what he said were reports of propane price gouging during the last few weeks of unseasonably bitter cold. He said attorneys general in at least four other states had opened inquiries, and he said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, should do the same.
"I think we should be looking into making sure people are getting a fair shake," he said.
Van Hollen’s spokeswoman, Dana Brueck, said Richards should know it’s the state’s department of agriculture and consumer protection that handles such complaints, not the Justice Department.
"The Department of Justice is aware of this issue and monitoring it," she said in an email. "However, under Wisconsin law, there is no statutory authority for the DOJ to ’investigate,’ which is something Rep. Richards should be aware of."
Richards also discussed a petition he started this week calling on the state Department of Justice to stop defending the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. He said as attorney general he wouldn’t defend the ban because it conflicts with the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing equal protection under the law.