Republican state prosecutors on Tuesday railed at U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's "unprecedented" support for attorneys general who refuse to defend their states' gay marriage bans if they think they're discriminatory.
"This administration is repeatedly ignoring the rule of law,” said Republican Attorneys General Association Chairman and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, Politico reported.
"Our freedom depends on upholding the rule of law and obtaining the consent of the governed. Republican attorneys general will continue to fight every single day to protect our Constitution and defend states’ rights,” Wilson said.
Alabama's top prosecutor noted that it was a state attorney general's "solemn duty to the state and its people to defend state laws and constitutional provisions against challenge under federal law."
"To refuse to do so because of personal policy preferences or political pressure erodes the rule of law on which all of our freedoms are founded," said Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, in a statement released by the Republican Attorneys General Association, also questioned Holder's position.
"The approach is as inappropriate as it is unprecedented," Fox said. "What General Holder is asking state attorneys general to do is accept a gratuitously offered, nonbinding legal opinion on an issue that has not been decided by a national court of competent jurisdiction at this time.”
The controversy comes as some state prosecutors have declined to defend their own states' bans on same-sex marriages against court challenges — including new Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring
The Virginia law
was subsequently struck down.
On Monday, Holder said
that when it comes to whether to defend gay marriage bans in court: "Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do.”
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