Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Thursday criticized state leaders in other states who have decided not to defend their bans on gay marriage.

Oregon and Pennsylvania this week joined 17 other states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay couples can marry after federal judges struck down marriage bans. Oregon refused to defend the state's ban in court, while Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett decided against pursuing an appeal.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is reviewing an appeal to a lower court's order declaring invalid Utah's 2004 voter-approved ban.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Herbert called those decision not to defend bans the “next step to anarchy.”

“For elected officials, governors or attorney generals, to pick and choose what laws [they] will enforce I think is a tragedy, and is the next step to anarchy,” Herbert told reporters on Thursday. “We have an obligation as a state to defend those laws.”

Herbert was also asked whether he sees a similarity between marriage bans based on sexual orientation and those based on race.

“What you choose to do with your sexual orientation is different in my mind than what you're born with as far as your race,” Herbert answered.

He also suggested that he believes being gay is a choice.

“I think it's unclear,” Herbert said. “I expect there may be different gradations. Clearly the actions involved in sexual activity ultimately end up being choices. What your attraction may be is something else, but how you act upon those impulses is a choice. But that's not for me to make that decision and consideration.”

“My job is to represent the people of Utah and follow the law that we have on the books,” he added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)