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State defends gay-marriage recusal law

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RICHMOND, Va. - An attorney for North Carolina says a state law letting magistrates refuse to perform same-sex marriages ensures the state complies with the law on gay marriage while respecting officials' religious beliefs.

Special Deputy Attorney General Olga Vysotskaya de Brito defended the law Wednesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She said North Carolina lawmakers worked hard to strike a fair balance.

At issue is whether the couples seeking to challenge the law have legal standing to do so.

Attorney Luke Largess said the spending of taxpayer dollars to bring willing magistrates into a county to perform same-sex marriages gives the couples the right to sue.

Two judges suggested that while they may have concerns with the policy, they're skeptical whether the couples have legal standing to challenge it.

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