Same-Sex Marriage in Arkansas

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.

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.

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