West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Thursday that his office would no longer defend in court the state's ban on gay marriage.

“Our Office will seek to bring to a close the litigation over W. Va.'s marriage laws, consistent with the 4th Circuit's now-binding decision,” Morrisey said in a tweet.

He added in a statement: “While we disagree … and believe it improperly displaces state and local decision-making, we will respect it. It is my duty to defend state laws that have been passed by the state Legislature and are consistent with the Constitution. We have discharged this duty faithfully.”

The about face comes four days after the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals in cases challenging bans in five states, thereby allowing appellate court rulings striking down the bans to stand. One of the bans that fell was in Virginia, which is in the same federal circuit as West Virginia.

The Herald-Dispatch quoted plaintiffs as saying they were elated over the decision.

“I'm emotional and speechless,” William Glavaris said.

“We're chatting and texting and crying through smiles,” Nancy Michael said. “I've already told my mom and my pastor.”

The decision clears the way for a judge to strike down the state's restrictive marriage ban.