On July 15, 2013, three same-sex couples filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas's laws prohibiting the marriage of same-sex couples and forbidding the recognition of legitimate same-sex ...
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On July 15, 2013, three same-sex couples filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas's laws prohibiting the marriage of same-sex couples and forbidding the recognition of legitimate same-sex marriages entered into in other states. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that Amendment 83 of the Arkansas Constitution violates plaintiffs' rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Two of the plaintiff couples sought to marry under the laws of Arkansas. The third plaintiff couple, married under the laws of New York, sought recognition of their marriage in Arkansas. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Amendment 83 and other Arkansas laws denying same-sex couples from marrying are unconstitutional, and to require that the State permit same-sex couples to marry and recognize same-sex couples married under the laws of other states.
On July 18, 2013, Judge James Leon Holmes recused himself from the case due to long-standing, close personal and professional relationships with the drafters of Arkansas Amendment 83.
The defendants answered on November 21, 2013 and moved to dismiss the complaint. Plaintiffs then moved for summary judgment. The court (Judge Kristine G. Baker) heard both motions on November 20, 2014 and issued its opinion and order on November 25, 2014. Judge Baker struck down Arkansas' gay-marriage ban as unconstitutional on the basis that it restricted the plaintiffs' fundamental right to marry and that the laws do not survive strict scrutiny, meaning the laws unconstitutionally deny consenting adult same-sex couples their fundamental right to marry in violation of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, the district court put its ruling on hold pending a timely appeal to the Eight Circuit.
Argument is set both in this case and in two other same-sex marriage cases, Lawson v. State of Missouri (PB-MO-0006
in this Clearinghouse) and Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard (PB-SD-0001
in this Clearinghouse), for the second week of May 2015.Carlyn Williams - 11/01/2013
Alex Wharton - 12/02/2014