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PHOENIX -- Lawyers for the state of Arizona deny that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates equal-protection and due-process rights.

The state Attorney General's office made the denial in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the ban.

The seven same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit allege the ban violates equal-protection and due-process rights.

They also alleged the ban denies them the benefits associated with marriage, such as spousal pension benefits, spousal survivorship rights and the ability to make medical decisions for each other.

Arizona lawmakers approved a state law barring same-sex marriages in 1996.

Seven years later, an Arizona appeals court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

Voters in 2008 amended the Arizona Constitution to include a ban.

Associated Press,

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