Democratic lawmakers from Wisconsin are calling on Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to drop their defense of the state's gay marriage ban, saying the efforts are wasting taxpayer money and trying to protect an unconstitutional policy.
The state's 15 Democratic state senators as well as 26 Assembly Democrats sent letters to Walker and Van Hollen on Wednesday.
"We ask that you stop wasting additional taxpayer dollars defending policies that promote inequality, foster discrimination, and limit the rights and freedoms of our fellow Wisconsinites," they wrote.
Dana Brueck, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice, said Van Hollen has no plans to drop his defense of the ban.
"We’ll respond to the legislators, but Attorney General Van Hollen has no plans to stop fulfilling his oath or to stop doing what he was elected to do, which is to defend the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin," Brueck said in an email.
And on Wednesday, a Walker spokeswoman repeated the governor's support for defending the ban.
"Gov. Walker takes seriously the oath of office that he took to support the Wisconsin Constitution. If others do not take that oath seriously, that is their decision," spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said in an email. "Gov. Walker supports Attorney General Van Hollen in his decision to defend the constitutional amendment added by the people of Wisconsin and believes it is correct for the Attorney General, on this or any other issue, to defend the constitution of the state of Wisconsin."
Also on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, slammed Walker's recent comments about same-sex marriage.
"I don't think the Republican Party is fighting it," Walker said of gay marriage during an interview with the Associated Press this weekend at the National Governors Association in Nashville.
"I'm not saying it's not important," added Walker, who is widely considered to be a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful. "But Republicans haven't been talking about this. We've been talking about economic and fiscal issues. It's those on the left that are pushing it."
On Wednesday, Pocan said Walker is going to "have to go to the doctor for whiplash" because of his various comments about gay marriage.
Pocan noted that Walker's weekend comments came just a few days after Wisconsin
formally appealing a ruling from a judge that struck down Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban.
During a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee, Pocan accused the first-term governor of trying to keep the conservative base happy by defending the same-sex marriage ban, but then saying little about it publicly -- adding that support for such bans is a politically unpopular position among the majority of voters.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in recent weeks has also been calling on Walker and Van Hollen to drop the appeal of the ruling.