JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state denies its laws on marriage curb the constitutional rights of five same-sex couples suing over Alaska's gay marriage ban.

Greg Kabel

The couples, four married outside Alaska and one unmarried couple, sued in federal court seeking to overturn the ban. Alaska voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

In a filing Thursday, the state doesn't get into its legal arguments. Instead, there is a claim-by-claim response to the plaintiffs.

State attorneys say voters had a "fundamental right to decide the important public policy issue of whether to alter the traditional definition" of marriage.

They say Alaska isn't required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and that, as a sovereign state, Alaska has the right to define and regulate marriage.