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updated: 11/30/2012 10:18 PM

Suburban churches can't defend gay marriage ban

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Associated Press

A Cook County judge says two suburban churches and the conservative Illinois Family Institute cannot intervene in a lawsuit over the state's ban on gay marriage.

They had sought permission to help defend the state's ban on gay marriage by intervening in a lawsuit filed by 25 gay and lesbian couples who want to overturn the 16-year-old law.

Two downstate county clerks received approval this summer to defend the law after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Attorney General Lisa Madigan refused to do so, claiming the ban violates the Illinois Constitution.

Cook County Circuit Judge Sophia Hall said Friday that the Illinois Family Institute, Arlington Heights-based Church of Christian Liberty and Bensenville-based Grace Gospel Fellowship didn't meet the legal standard to intervene but may file briefs stating their positions.

Pastor Calvin Lindstrom of the Church of Christian Liberty said church leaders originally sought to take the legal action not because they necessarily thought the judge would rule in their favor, but because "local churches need to stand for truth."

"We believe that when the definition of marriage, which is defined by God and recognized by the state and churches, is proposed to be changed, churches do have a legitimate voice in the matter," Lindstrom said. "Essentially the judge has ruled we really have nothing to add and our interests will be represented by the county clerks. But they're coming from it from the legal viewpoint and ignoring the larger viewpoint churches bring."

Lindstrom said his church would likely file an amicus brief in the case.

• Daily Herald staff writer Christopher Placek contributed to this report.

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