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Judge dismisses suit challenging state marriage license laws

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- A state judge has dismissed a lawsuit
challenging North Carolina's marriage license laws as a violation
of religious liberties.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports Superior Court Judge Judson
DeRamus issued his ruling Friday. The 11 plaintiffs - local ministers,
area residents and Guilford County register of deeds Jeff Thigpen -
say they will appeal the decision to the state Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit was filed in December in Guilford County Superior
Court. It asserts that no compelling reason exists for the state to
require religious leaders or court magistrates to perform
ceremonial marriages or for the state to require registration.

It also says prohibiting religious leaders from solemnizing
marriages of same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution and
the principle of separation of church and state.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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