The first lawsuit to challenge a ban on same-sex marriage in Arkansas has been filed on behalf of 11 gay couples.
63-year-old Attorney Cheryl Maples says she's been drafting her complaint for months in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last week striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Her suit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court and asks a judge to strike down the 9-year-old state Constitutional Amendment and 16-year-old legislation preventing same-sex couples from marrying in Arkansas.
“Because our constitutions – both federal and state – provide for due process of law and equal protection, we're asking that those be set aside because they are flagrantly violating a fundamental right these people have,” says Maples.
Maples says the enactment of the amendment was based upon religious beliefs and that this can not be a legal basis for impinging on someone's rights. She says, similarly, the courts should not be able to tell churches they have to participate in marrying same-sex couples.
Last week, a group submitted wording to Arkansas' attorney general for a proposed ballot measure to repeal the amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.