US Attorney General Eric Holder shared in an interview yesterday that state attorney generals are not required to defend laws that are found to be unconstitutional.
Careful not to encourage state AG's to disavow their own laws, Holder said that officials who have carefully studied marriage equality bans could refuse to defend them.
From the New York Times:
“Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do,” Mr. Holder said.
As an example, Mr. Holder cited the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, which forced public school integration in 1954.
“If I were attorney general in Kansas in 1953, I would not have defended a Kansas statute that put in place separate-but-equal facilities,” Mr. Holder said.
The nation’s first black attorney general, Mr. Holder has said he views today’s gay-rights campaigns as a continuation of the civil rights movement that won rights for black Americans in the 1950s and ’60s. He has called gay rights one of “the defining civil rights challenges of our time.”
Currently, six state AG's have refused to defend gay marriage bans in courtrooms while still enforcing the laws.