Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) — Nevada dropped an effort to defend its gay-marriage ban in court while 11 other states supported Utah's bid to reverse a lower-court ruling that overturned its prohibition on same-sex weddings.

Nevada was defending a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages established by a voter-approved amendment. A federal judge in 2012 ruled that the state law didn't violate the equal protection rights of eight same-sex couples that sued to overturn it. Yesterday, the state dropped its defense of the ban in the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

"Based upon the advice of the attorney general's office and their interpretation of relevant case law, it has become clear that this case is no longer defensible in court," Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, said in an e-mailed statement.

The developments in the Nevada and Utah court cases show how elected officials are taking sides after the U.S. Supreme Court in June left intact an order striking down California's ban on same-sex marriage without saying whether similar state laws should also be voided.

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