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Attorneys ask federal judge to lift stay in Arkansas same-sex marriage case

Attorneys ask federal judge to lift stay in Arkansas same-sex marriage case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Lawyers for gay couples challenging Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban want a federal judge to drop a stay she imposed while tossing the prohibition last year.

Arkansas-flagIn a court filing Wednesday, the lawyers cite recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions to not grant stays in other states. They say U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker should let Arkansas clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

They’re asking Baker to give the state only five days to respond and then rule quickly.

A spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge did not have an immediate comment.

Baker struck down the ban in November in a federal challenge but suspended her decision while the state appeals her ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit is scheduled to hear the appeal in May.

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Arkansas’ Supreme Court is also considering a separate case challenging the same-sex marriage ban approved by voters in 2004. Plaintiffs in that case asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to allow same-sex marriages to resume.

For a time last May, same-sex marriages were legal in Arkansas following a ruling in Pulaski County, and 541 gay couples received marriage licenses.

The U.S. Supreme Court is to hear oral arguments over same-sex marriage ban in April. A decision is expected by the end of June.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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