US Attorney General: States should be ‘suspicious’ of gay marriage bans

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The US Attorney General Eric Holder has spoken out to say that any state Attorney General should be “suspicious” of any bill or amendment which specifically bans gay couples from marrying.

Speaking on Tuesday, Holder pointed to the decision of at least six state Attorneys General who have declared that they will not defend their state’s same-sex marriage bans.

He said such decisions to not defend specific laws “must be exceedingly rare”, and “reserved only for exceptional circumstances”.

Speaking at the National Association of Attorneys General, he said “firm” constitutional grounds must be the basis for such a decision.

He went on: “But in general, I believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation. And we must endeavor in all of our efforts to uphold and advance the values that once led our forebears to declare unequivocally that all are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity.”

“This bedrock principle is immutable. It is timeless. And it goes to the very heart of what this country has always stood for — even though, as centuries of advancement in the cause of civil rights have shown, our understanding of it evolves over time. As I said just after the administration’s decision on DOMA was announced, America’s most treasured ideals were not put into action or given the full force of law in a single instant. On the contrary: Our ideals are continually advanced as our justice systems — and our Union — are strengthened; and as social science, human experience, legislation and judicial decisions expand the circle of those who are entitled to the protections and rights enumerated by the Constitution.”

Holder recently said the US Government will recognise equal marriage regardless of individual states’ position.