|Judge Chris Piazza|
After hearing oral arguments on a challenge to Arkansas’ ban on marriage equality yesterday, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said he would rule within two weeks.
From the Arkansas News Bureau:
Twenty-one same-sex Arkansas couples — and one woman seeking a divorce from a woman she married in New York — allege in a lawsuit that Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution, which was approved by voters in 2004 and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, violates rights guaranteed under both the state and federal constitutions.
The state attorney general’s office maintains that banning same-sex marriage preserves state interests and does not violate any fundamental rights.
Jack Wagoner, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said during Thursday’s hearing that since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in the U.S. v. Windsor case last year, 18 federal and state court decisions have been issued addressing the issue of equality based on sexual orientation, and all have been decided in favor of equality.
“When the government is in the marriage business, same-sex couples have to be treated the same,” Wagoner said during arguments. “The fact that they’ve been historically discriminated against is less reason to have laws targeting them.”