Holder: Discriminatory laws don't need defending

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 25, 2014 11:08 AM

(Washington) -- Attorney General Eric Holder says state attorneys general are not obligated to defend laws in their states banning same sex-marriage if they don't believe in them.

Holder made the remarks this morning at a winter meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has declined to defend the commonwealth's same-sex marriage ban against lawsuits filed by gay couples. Kane is a supporter of same-sex marriage.

Holder says decisions not to defend state laws should not be steeped in political disagreements and instead but ``must be reserved only for exceptional circumstances.'' But Holder says ``we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation'' and that upholding equal rights is an important principle.

Democratic attorneys general in four other states - Virginia, California, Illinois and Nevada - have taken the same stance as Kane.

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