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Arkansas

Judge rejects motion to dismiss challenge to Ark. same-sex marriage ban

Friday, December 20, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ ban on gay marriage is moving closer to a trial.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza on Thursday rejected a motion by government lawyers to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to topple the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

ArkansasThe judge also refused the plaintiffs’ motion seeking to bar the state from continuing to apply the prohibition to the nine same-sex couples who are part of the 43-member plaintiffs’ group. Piazza’s brief ruling did not state a reason.

The plaintiffs — 21 same-sex couples and a woman who wants to dissolve her New York marriage to another woman — argue that a constitutional amendment that Arkansas voters passed in 2004 and related statutes violate both state and federal constitutions. They say the laws violate equal-protection guarantees and are deliberately demeaning and degrading to them and their children.

The lawsuit targets the Arkansas Department of Health, which manages the state’s marriage records, and the Department of Finance and Administration, which oversees income-tax collection, along with the county clerks in seven counties — Conway, Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski, Saline, Washington and White — where plaintiffs have been refused marriage licenses.

A trial hasn’t been scheduled yet.

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Attorney Jack Wagoner, who represents the plaintiffs along with attorney Cheryl Maples, said he would like the case to be resolved at the circuit-court level within three months.

But the case likely won’t end there. The judge has said he expects an appeal, meaning the marriage-ban question will ultimately be decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, whose office is representing the state, commended the judge for moving quickly, acting within a week to the day after a three-hour hearing on the dismissal and injunction questions.

“We appreciate the court ruling in such a timely fashion,” spokesman Aaron Sadler said.

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34 more reader comments:

  1. We know we have a long road ahead of us but I’m staying hopeful anyway! Come on Arkies!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:05pm
  2. dont know I think your and my state of Oklahoma will be last if ever :( but we can only hope ….

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:16pm
  3. Kansas will be dead last. They are assholes over here

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:22pm
  4. No, I think Alabama or Mississippi will be dead last. If you have anything that could be tied to gay rights (HRC stickers, pride flags, etc.) you're basically labelled as an outcast. Even if you're just wearing rainbow colors because you want to.

    Replied on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:30pm
  5. I say Texas will be last

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:24pm
  6. I know Missouri will be last they are asses as well

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:24pm
  7. you have a democrat governor...

    Replied on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:33pm
  8. Democrats in southern states tend to be hardline right too, but USUALLY prefer a more secular approach to things. Basically they're the Republican party prior to the 1980's.

    Replied on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 9:38pm
  9. Don’t underestimate Mississippi’s determination to be last at everything, guys.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:29pm
  10. Come on, Arkansas…

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:29pm
  11. “Equal protections under the laws of this land” regardless of what those that think otherwise.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:32pm
  12. wow, looks like a race for the last place…dont forget oklahoma people. Ok governor has vowed that gays are going to be given any status in her state, can be fired w/o cause, harrased &killed w/o protection…all this is coming from a person who has been unfaithful openly while married…gays are threatning the sanctity of marriage in OK, NOT!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:32pm
  13. Am I the only one who finds the headline confusing? Indiana is bad too, we already have a law defining marriage as heterosexual, now they’re trying to pass another law making civil unions & domestic partnerships illegal too. Shameful

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:32pm
  14. Are you angry?

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:33pm
  15. Wow Just sad. We just voted to not preform marriage for all here. They haven’t banned it yet thank god

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:36pm
  16. Mississippi will definitely be the last..

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:36pm
  17. The south as a region will compete for that last spot… North Carolina leads the push… They all should be ashamed….

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:48pm
  18. That Daniel guy is stupid his whole entire profile is slandering gays Muslims and everything

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:49pm
  19. Aw come on Arkansas!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 3:52pm
  20. I hope arkansas gets approved but ya texas will be last

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:04pm
  21. I hope soon some of the southern states open there eyes and elect same sex marriage in there states

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:12pm
  22. Why you did not past the bill for people in Ask.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:27pm
  23. I am from Arkansas so I will continue to be hopeful for them, but remember just because a vote doesn’t pass just means that there are some people that just can’t accept the inevitable :)

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:31pm
  24. Give there right!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:34pm
  25. YES….SLOWLY BUT SURELY WE ARE DOING IT! State by State

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:18pm
  26. Praying for you Arkansas…COME ON!!!!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:20pm
  27. Thank you

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:43pm
  28. so who pays for state lawyers to defend state of ar-kansas discriminatory law?? taxpayers or rich ignorants? if taxpayer dollars, WHAT AN INCREDIBLE WASTE OF CITIZEN MONEY

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 5:58pm
  29. hopefully they are next

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 6:27pm
  30. Marriage should be allowed for everyone!

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 6:36pm
  31. I was born in Arkansas and now I am ashamed.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 8:00pm
  32. Gay marriage will be legal in every state it’s just a matter of time and fighting it is futile

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 8:21pm
  33. Good luck.

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 8:32pm
  34. yea…go ark..let all have their rights

    Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 9:40pm