AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Lawyers for two same-sex couples challenging Texas’ gay marriage ban are refuting state claims the prohibition promotes raising children in “stable, lasting relationships.”

Their brief filed Tuesday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the ban denies gay couples’ children the “protection and stability” afforded if their parents were married.

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It answers a July brief by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office. That claimed the ban promoted child-rearing by couples more likely to stay together. When Abbott filed the ban he said the case wasn’t about whether Texas should allow gay marriage, but “about the question of who decides.”

The latest brief adds that the ban “serves no legitimate state interest.”

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in February declared Texas’ 2005 law unconstitutional. But it’s remained in effect pending appeal.

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Opponents of the ban hope to proceed with oral arguments before the New Orleans-based circuit court. But those haven’t yet been scheduled.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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