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Arkansas

Federal judge recuses from Ark. gay marriage challenge

Friday, July 19, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A federal judge is recusing from a case challenging Arkansas’ ban on gay marriage, citing friendships with supporters of the amendment that voters approved banning same-sex unions.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Thursday ordered that the lawsuit challenging the ban be assigned to another judge.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes

Holmes cited personal and professional relationships with leaders who drafted and campaigned for the ban that was approved by voters in 2004. Holmes wrote that the relationships developed in 1980s working on issues similar, but not identical, to the gay marriage ban.

Holmes wrote the professional relationships ceased when he became a federal judge, but the personal ones have continued.

Three gay couples filed the lawsuit on Monday, which seeks an injunction to block enforcement of the Arkansas ban, claiming the measure violates the rights to equal protection and due process.

The 2004 constitutional ban was approved by about 75 percent of Arkansas voters.

The lawsuit names Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel as defendants, along with Pulaski County Circuit Clerk Larry Crane. A similar suit was filed earlier this month in state court by 11 gay couples.

A group is also working to get a measure on the 2014 ballot to legalize same-sex marriage. McDaniel’s office rejected proposed wording for the ballot proposal on Friday, though the group can rework the proposal’s language. Another group is seeking to place an item on the 2016 ballot.

The case was reassigned to Judge Kristine Baker.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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17 more reader comments:

  1. Honor on the right. It still exists.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 3:35pm
  2. wow he did the right thing,

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 3:39pm
  3. I respect judges who recuse themselves — shows maturity. Thanks, Judge Holmes!

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 3:41pm
  4. I would like to think the SCOTUS judges would give this a shot…

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 3:44pm
  5. Damn, this is refreshing.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 3:59pm
  6. While I applaud him for his honesty, what now?

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:03pm
  7. Thank goodness for people who know how to walk away when they should, rather than use their personal feelings to justify their own version of the law based on personal and emotional feelings; and politics. Thank you to him on that.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:04pm
  8. wow an..scary HONEST JUDGE

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:25pm
  9. only thing no matter HIS own feleings he is supposed to judge based on laws and facts..BUT thne again SO WAS SCLAIA the bigot

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:25pm
  10. At least he had the decency to back away.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:39pm
  11. Ethics. Real, honest to God, Ethics. Who´da thunk it.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:41pm
  12. yes good

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 4:44pm
  13. Sounds like an honest judge. Hopefully whoever does get it will have that much integrity.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 5:40pm
  14. Good. I CAN respect that decision!

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 8:25pm
  15. very commendable action. Im happy to see such integrity within the justice system

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 10:41pm
  16. His friends (special interest groups?) probably helped fund his present term since he was placed in office by Bush in 2003.

    Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 11:48pm
  17. Atleast he recused himself, that is honorable

    Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 1:03am