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updated: 7/3/2012 5:20 PM

Clerks get OK to defend gay marriage ban

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Associated Press

Two county clerks from downstate Illinois have received permission to defend the state's gay marriage ban in court.

Effingham County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel and Tazewell County Clerk Christie Webb on Tuesday got the OK to intervene in the lawsuit filed in Cook County by 25 gay and lesbian couples. They stepped forward after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Attorney General Lisa Madigan refused to defend the 16-year-old ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The prosecutors say the law violates the Illinois Constitution's equal protection clause. But they didn't object to the downstate clerks' intervention.

The Thomas More Society is representing the clerks.

Webb says she has no position on gay marriage but just wants to ensure there's a uniform law for all counties.

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