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Judge declines to dismiss challenge to Ga. gay marriage ban
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ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge in Georgia has declined to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Lawyers with the attorney general's office had argued the state has a legitimate interest in "encouraging the raising of children in homes consisting of a married mother and father" and that the ban on same-sex marriage is rationally related to that interest.

U.S. District Judge William Duffey wrote in his opinion Thursday that the state failed to address how those interests are furthered by the ban on same-sex marriages and the refusal to recognize legal marriages performed in other states.

Between federal appellate rulings and a U.S. Supreme Court decision in October to turn away state appeals, the number of states allowing same-sex couples to marry has risen to 36.