Anti-gay marriage law defence dropped by U.S.

The Obama administration says it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of same-sex marriage.
Same-sex couple Terese Rowe (centre) and Kristin Orbin wait to receive a marriage licence application prior to a judge lifting the Proposition 8 stay on same sex marriages at city hall in San Francisco, on Aug. 12. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

The Obama administration says it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of same-sex marriage.

In a statement Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder says U.S. President Barack Obama has concluded that the administration can no longer defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The Justice Department had defended the Defence of Marriage Act in court until now.

In a letter to Congress, Holder wrote that "the president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of [the Defence of Marriage Act] is unconstitutional."

With files from CBC News