US: Arkansas court hears same-sex marriage ban case today

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An Arkansas judge will today hear a case brought by couples aiming to strike down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Judge Chris Piazza is set to preside over the hearing, in a case brought by 21 gay and lesbian couples.

According to Associated Press, last year he refused a request from the state to dismiss the lawsuit, but also refused to stop enforcement of the ban.

Amendment 83 to the state’s constitution, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union, was approved by voters in the state in 2004.

Kendall and Julia Wright , the case’s lead plaintiffs, married this year in Iowa.

Several of the other couples have also married in other states, and are demanding that Arkansas recognise their unions.

The case will be heard the same day as an appeals court hears an appeal against the decision to strike down a same-sex marriage ban in neighbouring Oklahoma.

Since the US Supreme Court struck down the Defence of Marriage Act last July, 11 rulings have been made in marriage court cases, all of which have found in favour of recognising same-sex marriages.