Opponents of gay marriage are crying foul against two Cook County, Illinois officials who support two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the state's law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

At a press conference on Thursday, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said she would not fight the lawsuits.

The ACLU of Illinois and Lambda Legal are representing more than two dozen gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry in Illinois but are unable because state law defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

The suits, filed late last month, come one year after Illinois legalized civil unions for gay couples and two weeks after President Barack Obama, a former Illinois senator, endorsed gay marriage.

The suits claim that Cook County Clerk David Orr's refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples violates their rights to due process and equal protection under the Illinois Constitution.

Orr and Alvarez have questioned whether the ban on gay marriage in Illinois is constitutional.

Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel of the Thomas More Society, called the officials' support part of an “inside job” and said his organization would intervene to defend the law.

“We are disappointed in the Cook County State's Attorney's office for not defending this valid law, passed with broad bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” Breen said in a statement. “While the plaintiff couples in this case are from hundreds of miles outside of Chicago, Lambda Legal and the ACLU sued only the Cook County Clerk and excluded from the case the local clerks for these couples. Today's announcement by State's Attorney Anita Alvarez makes it clear that this lawsuit was an 'inside job' from the beginning, a crass political move to force same sex marriage on all Illinoisans without providing the residents of the other 101 counties an opportunity to be heard. The Thomas More Society is preparing legal papers to defend the law and prevent this collusive end run around the will of the people of Illinois and their General Assembly.”

However, local officials are not alone in their support.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office has already filed a notice with the court saying it would support the legal challenges.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the notice, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, said Madigan's office will “present the court with arguments that explain why the challenged statutory provisions do not satisfy the guarantee of equality under the Illinois Constitution.”