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Ariz. court rejects gay wedding case

PHOENIX -- A gay couple's challenge to Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages has been turned away by the state Supreme Court.

Without comment Tuesday, the state's highest court let stand an appeals court ruling that upheld the 1996 state law.

In December, a Phoenix couple, Don Standhardt and Tod Keltner, asked the high court to review the Court of Appeals decision, arguing that the statute discriminates against gay couples and their children by violating privacy and equal treatment clauses in the state constitution.

The Court of Appeals had held in October that there is no fundamental constitutional right to same-sex marriage. It found that the state has a rational basis for prohibiting same-sex marriage because of goals related to procreation and child-rearing.

Standhardt and Keltner were denied a marriage license in Maricopa County, according to their original lawsuit, filed July 7.

"With it being a pressing civil rights issue here, we thought they would see the injustice in the law being what it is," Standhardt said.

The attorney general's office urged the Supreme Court to reject the appeal, contending that the ban was based on legislative policies, not discrimination.

The court action was announced as legal maneuvering continued on the same-sex marriage issue in California.

In San Francisco, California Supreme Court justices listened skeptically to arguments that San Francisco's mayor had the right to defy state law when he issued marriage licenses to 4,000 gay couples earlier this year. A ruling on whether the mayor abused his powers is expected within 90 days.

The justices are not likely to decide the validity of the 4,000 gay and lesbian marriages that were performed before the high court put a stop to the practice in March.

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