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   CHICAGO (AP) - An Illinois judge promises to rule on the future of a lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

   The lawsuit was filed last year by 25 gay couples who want the right to marry.

   Cook County Judge Sophia Hall is expected to rule Friday on a motion to dismiss the case.

   Lawyers for five downstate county clerks who are defending the ban want the case tossed. Plaintiffs' attorneys want the judge to let the lawsuit stand - then rule immediately that they won the lawsuit and that the ban is illegal.

   The clerks won permission to defend the ban after Cook County's top prosecutor and the Illinois attorney general refused to do so, saying the 17 year old ban violates the state constitution.

   Illinois legalized civil unions two years ago.

 

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