By Julia Edwards
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Justice Department lawyer who argued to overturn the nation's ban on gay marriage will be promoted to the agency's No. 3 position, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement on Friday.
Stuart Delery, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division since March 2012, will become acting associate attorney general following the departure of Tony West, expected later this month.
Delery is openly gay, and thanked his partner during the Senate confirmation hearing to his current position.
Delery argued at the appellate level in the United States v. Windsor case, which progressed to the Supreme Court where it was decided that a federal ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Delery also oversaw the nationwide implementation of that decision in his role as head of the Civil Division.
"I look forward to his continued contributions in the days ahead," Holder said in his statement.
In his new role, which must be confirmed by the Senate to become permanent, Delery will advise Holder on a broad range of issues. West was best known for the billion-dollar settlements he helped broker with large banks, including Bank of America, for their role in selling mortgage-backed securities to investors.
As head of the Civil Division, Delery has focused on cases involving national security, health and safety and financial fraud, averaging 50,000 different matters handled by the division per year, according to the Justice Department.
Delery also co-chairs several working groups of the Department's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which investigates and prosecutes financial crime.