The attorney general in the US state of Pennsylvania has said she will not defend the state’s ban on equal marriage, following a lawsuit being filed to challenge the ban.

The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller, filed the complaint earlier this week in the US District Court, in an effort to have the state’s Defense of Marriage Act deemed unconstitutional.

The act specifically defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and bars the state from recognising same-sex marriages, even those entered in other states.

In a brief statement today, Kathleen Kane said she would not defend the act, which denies same-sex couples the right to marry.

“Today, the attorney general chooses to protect all those without high-priced lawyers, all those who suffer discrimination and inequality, those thousands of families who have been denied of the dignity and respect that the Constitution protects and guarantees in marriage equality,” she said. “Today we represent everyone who does not have representation.”

The lawsuit by the ALCU names Kane, as well as Republican Governor Tom Corbett, in its attempt to have the amendment deemed constitutional.

Kane, who is in favour of same-sex marriage said she would leave the defending of the equal marriage ban to Corbett, who opposes equal marriage.

According to state law, it is the attorney general’s responsibility to defend the constitutionality of state laws, however she is also allowed to allow the governor’s office or executive branch agencies to defend a lawsuit if it is in the state’s best interest, or if it is more efficient.

The governor’s office did not comment on the lawsuit.