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Indiana attorney general defending gay marriage ban

– Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Friday he plans to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage with a pair of briefs that will be filed in the coming Supreme Court battle.

Zoeller said Friday he will file an amicus brief with the high court when it takes up California’s ban on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act next year.

“I’m not going to wait for people to challenge our statute,” he said. “There’s a case that’s going to go up before the Supreme Court, and I think it’s my duty to file the amicus brief like we did with defending the roles of states in other areas.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the volatile social issue comes shortly after the first states in the nation approved gay marriage on statewide ballots and as Indiana lawmakers decide whether to send a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to a referendum.

The chance the nation’s high court may invalidate state laws on marriage has spurred some lawmakers to suggest waiting on the issue until after the court rules. Lawmakers approved writing the ban into the constitution once already and must do so again a second time, then send the measure to voters in 2014, in order to be successful.

A spokesman for Zoeller noted the state filed an amicus brief earlier this year that supported the Supreme Court taking up the issue and will file separate briefs with other state attorneys general dealing with the California ban and the federal ban on gay marriage. Zoeller argued states should have the autonomy to license marriages as they see fit.

Zoeller made the announcement during a year-end news conference. He defended his decision to stop defending the state’s immigration laws following a Supreme Court ruling invalidating similar measures in Arizona.