Same-Sex Marriage in Arkansas

The Arkansas Supreme Court wants lawyers in a gay-marriage case to tell it which justices they believe should decide the issue.

The makeup of Arkansas' highest court changed Jan. 1 - six weeks after oral arguments. The state's new attorney general wants new arguments, but lawyers for gay couples object.

In an unsigned order Thursday, the justices gave both sides 30 days to say why their argument should prevail.

A Pulaski County judge last May overturned Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban and 541 gay couples obtained licenses before justices imposed a stay.

A federal appeals court has agreed to hear arguments this spring from three more states defending gay marriage bans.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday granted a request to consider an appeal from South Dakota at an expedited pace. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the court also combined the arguments with cases from Arkansas and Missouri.

All three states are appealing federal judges' decisions to overturn gay marriage bans.

A federal appeals court says it has received payment from the Arkansas Attorney General's Office one day after it threatened to dismiss the state's attempt to restore a gay marriage ban because of an outstanding $505 docketing fee.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals notified the state Jan. 7 that the money was due last Wednesday. The appeals court said Monday that Arkansas has two weeks to demonstrate why its appeal shouldn't be dropped.

Republican Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge at KUAR during the 2014 May Primary run-off.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to hold new oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban.

Rutledge, a Republican who was sworn in last week, on Friday asked for a new hearing in the state's appeal of a Pulaski County judge's decision striking down the ban as unconstitutional. Justices held oral arguments in the case in November, and have yet to issue a ruling.

Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he remains opposed to allowing gay couples to marry despite recent rulings against his state's ban, but says he's eased his opposition to allowing them to enter into civil unions.

The two-term Democratic governor said Wednesday that he's changed his stance on some issues regarding gay rights, but still believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.

same-sex gay marriage larry crane
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A county clerk says he's prepared for same-sex marriages to return to the Bible Belt, even if his office is the only one in Arkansas ready or willing to do so.

The office of Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane distributed the largest share of licenses to gay couples when doing so was temporarily authorized for a week in May.

A federal judge Tuesday overturned Arkansas' ban on gay marriage, but she put her decision on hold pending a likely appeal.

A federal judge has struck down Arkansas’s ban against same-sex marriage. 

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker has ruled same sex-couples have a fundamental right to marry in Arkansas. She ruled that the state’s 2004 ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.

A Pulaski County judge had struck down the marriage ban in May and about 500 couples were married before his ruling was stayed.

The Arkansas State Supreme Court is considering a similar case but has not yet issued a ruling.

The Arkansas Supreme Court and a federal judge heard oral arguments Thursday  on whether a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman is valid.

The state's high court is considering the appeal of a Pulaski County judge's ruling earlier this year that said the amendment, approved by voters in 2004, is unconstitutional.

Assistant Arkansas Attorney General Colin Jorgensen represented the state, asking that the amendment be allowed to stand.

same-sex marriage traditional family council
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

On the eve of oral arguments before the Arkansas Supreme Court and a federal judge, hundreds of supporters of traditional marriage rallied Wednesday morning at the state Capitol.

The event, organized by the Family Council, featured religious leaders and was designed to show support for the 2004 Arkansas constitutional amendment approved by voters that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

"We are here today to call on the Arkansas Supreme Court to simply let the people's vote for marriage stand," said Jerry Cox, president of the group.

A marriage ceremony being performed in the Pulaski County Courthouse in May 2014.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' highest court and a federal judge are preparing to hear arguments this week over the state's ban on same-sex marriage, a decade after the state's voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Attorneys for the state and a group of gay couples are scheduled to appear before the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday morning, as justices weigh whether to uphold a Pulaski County judge's ruling against the ban.

Hours later, the same attorneys will be making similar arguments before a federal judge in a separate lawsuit.