Hutchinson To Move Quickly On Appointments For Gay Marriage Case

Apr 9, 2015

Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a file photo from January.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he plans to move quickly to appoint three special justices to hear a case before the state Supreme Court related to a challenge over the ban on same-sex marriage.

Hutchinson told reporters Thursday he didn't have a timeline for appointing the justices to the case surrounding whether Justice Rhonda Wood, who was sworn in in January, can rule on the constitutionality of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The court last week ruled that a separate case on the matter was needed.

Chief Justice Jim Hannah and Justice Paul Danielson on have recused themselves from the case and accused the rest of the court of unnecessarily delaying the gay marriage appeal. Wood has also recused herself from the newly created case.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson said he doesn't see an urgent need for an executive order extending anti-discrimination workplace protections to gay and lesbian state employees after lawmakers approved a reworked religious objections bill.

The governor said he had considered such an order as an alternative in case lawmakers didn't agree to his request to revise the religion bill after it faced widespread criticism that it was anti-gay.

Hutchinson last week signed the compromise measure, which supporters say addresses discrimination concerns by more closely mirroring a 1993 federal law.

Gay rights advocates on called on Hutchinson to follow through and issue an executive order.