Holder: State AGs Can Decide Whether To Defend Gay Marriage Bans


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said that attorneys general across the country do not have to defend their state same-sex marriage bans in court if they believe the laws are discriminatory.

“Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do,” he told the New York Times.

Holder did not discourage states from defending their laws, however, according to the Times.

Six attorneys general have declined to defend the gay marriage ban in their state, according to the Times. Virginia’s attorney general refused to defend the state’s ban in January. Attorneys general in Nevada and Oregon both declined to defend their bans in February.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last summer, which Holder refused to defend, federal judges have increasingly ruled state-level gay marriage bans unconstitutional.