Arguments scheduled for October in lawsuit challenging Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage

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JUNEAU, Alaska — Arguments are scheduled for October in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage.

Five same-sex couples, four married outside of Alaska and one unmarried couple, sued to overturn the ban in May. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

The state, in its response, said Alaska isn't required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. State attorneys also argue that Alaska, as a sovereign state, has the right to define and regulate marriage.

The case is being heard by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess.

The Oct. 10 arguments are set against the backdrop of judges in other states striking down bans similar to Alaska's as unconstitutional. A number of those decisions are being appealed.

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