The US state of Nevada is to drop its defence in court of the ban on same-sex couples marrying soon to be heard in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto has said that the state’s intention to defend the ban in the courts is pointless if gay people can serve on the jury that will decide on the case.

The Attorney General last month compared same-sex marriage to incest and bigamy. Now she says:  “After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable.”

Republican governor Brian Sandoval agreed with his Attorney General.

In 2012, a federal judge upheld Nevada’s ban on equal marriage. US District Judge Robert Jones threw out the lawsuit filed by eight gay couples against the 2002 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as between opposite-sex couples only.

During the Senate debate around a bill to repeal the ban earlier this year, state Senator Kelvin Atkinson nervously announced that he is gay, saying he had not intended to come out, but felt that the time was right. 

“I’m black. I’m gay… I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male,” he said.