Two gay-nuptials lawsuits advance

Posted: July 31, 2014 at 4:18 a.m.

Federal and state challenges to the Arkansas constitutional ban on gay marriage moved forward Wednesday.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to deny a request for a summary judgment made earlier this month by two same-sex couples. Becca and Tara Austin along with Pam and Rita Jernigan asked Baker to overturn a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The couples began their challenge of the amendment in July 2013.

McDaniel, joined by other state officials, argued that the request for summary judgment was premature because Baker had not ruled on the state's motion filed earlier this year to dismiss the lawsuit.

The challenge in the Arkansas Supreme Court also moved forward Wednesday.

The lower court has 90 days once an appeal is filed with the Supreme Court to deliver the full case file of all previous proceedings. The record was delivered Wednesday, which started the clock running for briefs in the case.

The brief from the appellants challenging the ruling that struck down the ban is due Sept. 8. The appellees will have 30 days from when that brief is submitted to file their answer.

Court officials said Wednesday that extensions are often granted for appeals, so no date was set for a ruling.

Metro on 07/31/2014