Same-Sex Marriage in Arkansas

Arkansas' highest court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging the state's gay marriage ban on the same day a federal judge takes up a separate case over the prohibition.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to expedite the case and scheduled oral arguments for Nov. 20 in the state's appeal of a lower court's ruling against the ban.

Dustin McDaniel
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas attorney general's office says it doesn't object to the state's highest court moving quickly on a lawsuit challenging a gay marriage ban.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office on Tuesday told the Arkansas Supreme Court it doesn't object to a request by a group of same-sex couples challenging the ban to expedite the case before the high court.

The state is appealing a Pulaski County judge's ruling in May striking down a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

A federal judge has set a hearing for next month in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' gay marriage ban.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker on Monday scheduled a Nov. 20 hearing over competing motions in the lawsuit challenging a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A group of same-sex couples is challenging the ban.

The hearing will be on the couples' motion for summary judgment in the case, and on a separate motion by the state seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.

A statement issued by the Vatican this week caught the attention of many members of Arkansas Catholic and LGBT communities. While it does not reflect an official change in the church’s position on gay marriage or homosexuality, the language used was viewed by many as a positive step. 

The “working document” is the mid-point summary of conversations by a worldwide gathering of bishops. In it, gay people are said to have “gifts to offer” and should be viewed compassionately.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has refused to delay proceedings in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Earlier this year, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked the court to put the case on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in challenges involving other states. On Monday, the nation's highest court declined to consider appeals in those cases.

The Arkansas Supreme Court did not offer any comment in its one-sentence denial Thursday of McDaniel's request.

A group of gay couples is asking Arkansas' highest court to uphold a judge's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, arguing the U.S. Supreme Court is indicating that such bans are unconstitutional by not taking up similar cases.

The couples on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since summer 2013, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The high court Monday cleared the way for more expansion by turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit it.

Gov. Mike Beebe has named a retired judge from Harrison to fill in as a special justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court in the lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban.

Beebe on Wednesday named retired Judge Robert W. McCorkindale to serve on the court as it considers whether to uphold the 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The leader of Arkansas' Roman Catholic diocese wants the state's highest court to consider his thoughts on the voter-approved gay-marriage ban.

Anthony Taylor, the bishop of Little Rock, asked the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday to accept a friend of the court brief that argues justices should uphold Arkansas' 2004 same-sex-marriage ban. A state judge tossed the ban last spring.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the filing notes the ban was enacted by the people and says eliminating it would undermine an institution that is the bedrock of any society.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The attorney general's office is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold the state's gay marriage ban, arguing a county judge was wrong to say it violated the state and U.S. constitutions.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office on Monday asked justices to uphold the 2004 constitutional amendment and an earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza struck down the ban earlier this year, and 541 same-sex couples were married before the ruling was suspended by the state Supreme Court pending appeals.

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