Govt drops defense of anti-gay marriage law

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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 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 Defense of Marriage Act in court until now.

"I strongly disagree with the Obama Justice Department's action," said Alabama Senator Richard Shelby. "The enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act defines a marriage in the eyes of the federal government as a union between a man and a woman, but also allows each of the fifty states to determine their own definition of marriage.

Shelby said he would "support any legislation that I feel will strengthen the American family and support positive values for all of our citizens. To that end, I support an amendment to the Constitution that would strictly define marriage as a union between a man and a woman throughout the country."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)