Alaska defends same-sex marriage ban

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state denies its laws on marriage curb the constitutional rights of five same-sex couples suing over Alaska’s gay marriage ban.

The couples, four married outside Alaska and one unmarried couple, sued in federal court seeking to overturn the ban. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

In a filing Thursday, the state doesn’t get into its legal arguments. Instead, there is a claim-by-claim response to the plaintiffs.

State attorneys say voters had a “fundamental right to decide the important public policy issue of whether to alter the traditional definition” of marriage.

They say Alaska isn’t required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and that, as a sovereign state, Alaska has the right to define and regulate marriage.

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