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April 23, 2014

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Attorneys general switching sides on gay marriage

Updated Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 | 11:40 a.m.

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Around the country, a growing number of state attorneys general are taking an unusually supportive role in the movement to legalize gay marriage.

That trend was highlighted Thursday, when a federal judge struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling came after the state attorney general himself said the ban was unconstitutional.

Usually, the job of an attorney general is to defend the laws on the books. But the AGs in at least five states have declined to defend prohibitions against gay marriage.

Conservatives are accusing them of shirking their legal duty. But they say it would be improper for them to argue positions that are clearly unconstitutional.