COPY-Arkansas Supreme Court takes up gay marriage case - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

COPY-Arkansas Supreme Court takes up gay marriage case

By ANDREW DeMILLO
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawyers for same-sex couples have asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reject a ban on gay marriage.

During a 50-minute hearing before the court Thursday, the lawyers said that while Arkansas can impose "reasonable regulations" on who can marry, it also must honor "fundamental rights" promised by the state constitution.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Lawyers for the state and county officials said Thursday that definitions of marriage should be left to the states.

A Pulaski County judge tossed the state ban last May, leading to 541 gay couples obtaining marriage licenses before a stay was issued. Courts nationwide have rejected bans similar to the one in Arkansas.

A federal judge will consider a similar separate case later Thursday.

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