The couples earlier this month asked Baker to rule immediately and find a 2004 constitutional amendment and any related laws barring gay marriage unconstitutional. The couples sued the state over the ban last year.
In the filing, McDaniel’s office said the summary judgment request was premature because Baker hasn’t ruled on the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. He also defended the constitutionality of the ban.
“Amendment 83 and Arkansas Act 144 of 1997 are rationally related to numerous conceivable rational bases, and are there constitutional,” the filing said. “Plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion should be denied.”
The couples argued earlier this month that Arkansas’ ban doesn’t serve any purpose other than discriminating against same-sex couples. The lawsuit also seeks to require Arkansas to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
The immediate ruling is being sought as Arkansas’ highest court is also considering the constitutionality of the ban. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down the ban earlier this year, which led to 541 gay couples receiving marriage licenses before Piazza’s ruling was suspended by the state Supreme Court.
Gay marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts.
Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Follow this case: Jernigan v. Crane.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.