LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the same sex marriage case.
They will be heard on Nov. 20, beginning at 9 a.m.
It was back in May that the panel issued a stay of a May 15 lower court order that clarified a May 9 order from the same court that lifted the state’s ban on same sex marriage.
That meant the issuing of marriage licenses for same sex couples was put on hold until the justices could fully consider the case.
The matter before the court is to decide how the state proceeds with the granting of marriage licenses for same sex couples.
After the May 9 order came down, five counties (Carroll, Marion, Pulaski, Saline, and Washington) began issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples.
Four days later, that number dwindled to two, Pulaski and Washington, and the next day only to one (Pulaski) and then, Conway County started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
Hundreds of same sex couples were granted the licenses and held wedding ceremonies in May.
The granting of the stay did not invalidate any of the marriage licenses issued since the May 9 ruling.
Also on Nov. 20, Federal Judge Kristine Baker with the Eastern District of Arkansas has scheduled a hearing on the federal lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the state’s bans on same sex marriage. It will be held at 1:30 p.m.
Judge Baker will hear two competing motions: 1) The plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment* and 2) the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit for failure to state a claim.
*Federal courts have ruled, with a single district court exception, that state bans on same-sex marriage and the failure of states to grant rights to people legally married in other states cannot stand.
Click here for background information on the lawsuit from our content partner the Arkansas Blog (Arkansas Times).