Arkansas court: Current justices should hear same-sex marriage case

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Cheryl Maples, an attorney for the gay couples challenging Arkansas’ ban, initially argued that McCorkindale should decide the case, but Maples reversed course and told the court she wouldn’t take a position on the matter. She said she believed McCorkindale should be hearing the case, but said she believed the court would strike down the ban no matter the lineup.

“I disagree with their decision, but we can live with it and maybe we can get a ruling finally,” Maples said.

The ruling doesn’t guarantee that the Arkansas court will decide before the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments last week on whether to legalize same-sex marriage and is expected to rule by late June. A federal appeals court has put a separate challenge to Arkansas’ ban on hold while the nation’s high court decides.

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Also pending before the state Supreme Court is a request by the state for new oral arguments before the court, a move that Maples has opposed. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she was pleased with Thursday’s ruling.

“My office stands ready to defend Amendment 83 in a second oral argument should the Justices decide that it would be beneficial,” she said in a statement released by her office.

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