WASHINGTON, D.C., February 26, 2014 ( – The Obama administration's newest foray into the culture wars has sparked a major pushback by the nation's Republican attorneys general.

In an interview with The New York Times on Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder advised state attorneys general that they could refuse to defend state bans on same-sex “marriage.” He compared the decision to not defend state bans with not defending Jim Crow laws in the 1950s South. 

On Tuesday, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) slammed Holder's remarks. Montana Attorney General Tim 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.”


In other words, according to Fox, Holder is expressing his personal opinion on a matter that has not yet been decided by a court with national authority. And in doing so, he is stepping beyond the normal bounds of his duty as U.S. attorney general.

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Six Democratic attorneys general have declined to defend state laws or constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman. One of the most prominent of these attorneys general, Mark Herring, entered office in January. Calls for impeachment began almost immediately after he declined to defend the state's constitutional amendment. 

At least two Democrats, in North Carolina and Arkansas, have said they are putting their oath of office to uphold state laws and their state constitutions above personal views.

RAGA Chairman Alan Wilson, who serves as attorney general in South Carolina, told Politico the Obama administration “is repeatedly ignoring the rule of law.”

“Upholding the rule of law and obtaining the consent of the governed” is critical to freedom, he said. “Republican Attorneys General will continue to fight every single day to protect our Constitution and defend states’ rights.”


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