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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas officials are asking a federal judge to reject an effort to strike down the state's gay marriage ban, arguing the prohibition is constitutional and serves a legitimate state interest.

The attorney general's office on Wednesday asked U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to deny the motion for summary judgment filed by two same-sex couples challenging the ban. The couples earlier this month asked Baker to find a 2004 constitutional amendment and any related laws barring gay marriage unconstitutional. The couples sued the state over the ban last year.

The state argued the motion is premature since Baker has not ruled on a motion it filed asking her to dismiss the lawsuit.

The state Supreme Court is also considering whether to uphold a county judge's ruling against the ban.

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(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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