Nevada abandons defense of marriage equality ban

"After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments ... are no longer sustainable"

By Katie McDonough

Published February 11, 2014 2:18PM (EST)

                     (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Nevada's attorney general and governor announced Monday that they won't defend the state's ban on marriage equality, explaining their arguments against equal marriage are "no longer sustainable."

"After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable," Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.

Masto is the latest in a number of state attorneys general who have declined to defend their state's ban on equal marriage, and her announcement comes in the midst of something of a winning streak in other cases challenging similar bans in court, including high-profile cases in Utah and Oklahoma.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval came out in support of Masto's action, telling the Associated Press, "Based upon the advice of the attorney general's office and their interpretation of relevant case law, it has become clear that this case is no longer defensible in court."

The decision not to defend the ban has no immediate impact on the legal status of marriage equality in Nevada, but it is being applauded by marriage equality advocates.

"This is fantastic evidence the state has recognized that equality for all people in Nevada and certainly across the country is of utmost important," said Tod Story, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Equal Marriage Equal Protection Lgbt Rights Marriage Marriage Equality Nevada