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February 15, 2014
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Mormon church weighs in on gay marriage ban

SALT LAKE CITY (AP):

The Mormon church and a coalition of religious organisations are expected to file an argument to a federal appeals court by midnight explaining why they believe Utah's same-sex marriage ban should stand.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will file a 'friend of the court' brief, along with Catholic, Southern Baptist and Lutheran organisations and the National Association of Evangelicals, court records show. The brief is being handled by the Salt Lake City law firm that represents the Mormon church, Kirton and McConkie.

Monday is the deadline for filings in support of Utah before the Denver-based 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Other groups and organisations have already submitted their arguments, including a group of attorney generals from 10 states who argue same-sex marriage is not part of American tradition.

Utah state attorneys filed their opening argument last week, saying the optimal environment for raising children is with a mother and father. The state contends that redefining marriage poses "real, concrete risks to children" because not having a mother or father leads to emotional damage. The state said its duty is to look out for the long-term interests of children who can't defend themselves.

Attorneys for three gay and lesbian couples in Utah who brought the lawsuit against Utah will file their response by February 25. Organisations who want to send in arguments in support of the couples have until March 4.

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