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Judge: Churches can't defend Ill. gay marriage ban

CHICAGO (AP) — A Cook County judge says two suburban Chicago churches and the conservative Illinois Family Institute cannot intervene in a lawsuit over the state's ban on gay marriage.

They had sought permission to help defend the state's ban on gay marriage by intervening in a lawsuit filed by 25 gay and lesbian couples who want to overturn the 16-year-old law.

Two downstate county clerks received approval this summer to defend the law after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Attorney General Lisa Madigan refused to do so, claiming the ban violates the Illinois Constitution.

Cook County Circuit Judge Sophia Hall said Friday that the IFI, Arlington Heights-based Church of Christian Liberty and Bensenville-based Grace Gospel Fellowship didn't meet the legal standard to intervene but may file briefs stating their positions.

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