A group of 11 LGBT couples in Arkansas have filed suit against the state claiming Arkansas Amendment 83, which prevents gay marriage from being recognized in the state, is unconstitutional following the SCOTUS decision on DOMA.
The lawsuit also claims that the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights have been violated by the ban, citing several benefits awarded to heterosexual couples that are not extended to their same-sex counterparts. According to reports, four of the couples suing have been married in Iowa, and several others were denied marriage licenses in Arkansas last week.
Terri Beiner, a professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is quick to point out that the situation is more complex than it may seem—in 2004, Amendment 83 passed with 75% of the popular vote.
“Amendment 83 amended the Arkansas constitution,” said Beiner, “so you’d be arguing that it’s unconstitutional under the Arkansas constitution even though it amended the Arkansas constitution, so that’s a tougher argument to make. However, there is some leeway, I think, within the federal constitutional arguments to make the argument that same-sex couples should be permitted to get married under state law.”
In the meantime, Arkansans for Equality have asked the Arkansas attorney general’s office to approve language for a proposed ballot measure to repeal Amendment 83 in next year’s election. If approved, the group must gather at least 78,133 signatures from registered voters before appearing on the ballot.