Judge Chris Piazza
Ark. Marriage Ruling Likely in Two Weeks

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com April 17 2014 7:21 PM ET

A ruling will come in about two weeks in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’s ban on same-sex marriage, says the judge who heard arguments in the case today.

Pulaski County Circuit Court judge Chris Piazza announced his anticipated time frame at the end of today’s proceedings, the Associated Press reports. He heard arguments from lawyers on both sides of the issue at the court in Little Rock.

Attorney Jack Wagoner, representing the 21 same-sex couples seeking an end to the ban, contended that it violates the both the U.S. and Arkansas constitutions, even though the ban took the form of a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2004. Under both the state and U.S. constitutions, there are “rights that can’t be taken away,” he said, even by a constitutional amendment.

“When the government is in the marriage business, same-sex couples have to be treated the same,” Wagoner continued. “The fact that they’ve been historically discriminated against is less reason to have laws targeting them.”

Colin Jorgensen, an assistant attorney general for the state, argued that the ban does not conflict with the Arkansas Constitution. “The people of Arkansas can put whatever they want in the constitution,” he said. “The only check on that is the U.S. Constitution.”

The courtroom was filled with same-sex couples today, the AP notes, including many of the plaintiffs in the case.