From a cheering New York Times:
Holder Sees Way to Curb Bans on Gay Marriage
By MATT APUZZO | February 24, 2014
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday injected the Obama administration into the emotional and politicized debate over the future of state same-sex marriage bans, declaring in an interview that state attorneys general are not obligated to defend laws that they believe are discriminatory.
So it’s okay for government officials to ignore their oaths of office and refuse to enforce a law they don’t personally agree with. But it’s a crime for a religious official to refuse a church wedding to some couple because of a personal belief.
Mr. Holder was careful not to encourage his state counterparts to disavow their own laws, but said that officials who have carefully studied bans on gay marriage could refuse to defend them.
So the Attorney General of the United States, the highest law enforcement officer in the country, says it is okay to ignore legally enacted laws. And, in fact, he is encouraging people to do so. Which he does on quite a few issues, by the way. (Cf. amnesty.)
Six state attorneys general – all Democrats – have refused to defend bans on same-sex marriage, prompting criticism from Republicans who say they have a duty to stand behind their state laws, even if they do not agree with them.
What nonsense. Only Republicans have to enforce laws they disagree with.
It is highly unusual for the United States attorney general to advise his state counterparts on how and when to refuse to defend state laws. But Mr. Holder said when laws touch on core constitutional issues like equal protection, an attorney general should apply the highest level of scrutiny before reaching a decision on whether to defend it. He said the decision should never be political or based on policy objections…
And, of course, they would never be political.
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.”…
And if you call something a ‘civil right,’ then no one can oppose it. Just like amnesty has suddenly become a civil right.
His comments signal the latest manifestation of the Obama administration’s evolving position on gay rights. Mr. Obama came into office opposed to same-sex marriage. But in 2011, he decided against defending the Defense of Marriage Act and ended the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring gays and lesbians from the military. The next year, the president said he personally supported gay marriage…
All of which he did to boost the fundraising for his re-election campaign. But it wasn’t political. No way.