Holder: Discriminatory laws don't need defending - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Holder: Discriminatory laws don't need defending

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MADISON (WKOW) -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder surprised some people when he announced federal opposition to same-sex marriage bans.

He told state attorneys general they're not obligated to stand behind state laws they believe are discriminatory or violate the constitution. Holder's message message Tuesday morning at the National Association of Attorneys General Winter Meeting in Washington.

"I believe that we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation and we must endeavor in all of our efforts to to uphold and advance the values that once led our forebears to declare, unequivocally, that all are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity," Holder said.

Holder says the decision not to defend a law must only be made in "rare" and "exceptional" circumstances, on constitutional grounds. And he believes gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told the New York Times it's not Holder's job to give them advice on defending their constitutions. He also said the state attorneys, "are the ultimate defenders of our state constitutions."
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