Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway on Tuesday announced that he would not defend the state's ban on gay marriage in court.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II last week ruled part of the ban unconstitutional and gave the state until March 20 to begin recognizing the legal out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

(Related: Kentucky must recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples, judge rules.)

An emotional Conway told reporters gathered at his Frankfort office that he would not pursue any more stays.

Conway, a Democrat, said that Judge Heyburn “got it right” and that he could not defend discrimination, according to Louisville's Courier-Journal.

Within moments, Governor Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, announced that the state would hire outside counsel to appeal Heyburn's ruling.

Conway is the seventh Democratic attorney general to refuse to defend such laws, joining Kamala Harris of California, Mark Herring of Virginia, Lisa Madigan of Illinois, Kathleen Kane of Pennsylvania, Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Masto recently withdrew a court filing in which she defended Nevada's ban.

(Related: Nevada withdraws defense of gay marriage ban that invoked bigamy, incest.)