A circuit judge in Pulaski County will hold a hearing Thursday in a case challenging Arkansas' ban on gay marriage.

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza will preside over the hearing in Little Rock.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include 21 gay couples and a lesbian who wants the state to recognize her New York marriage so that she can divorce her wife.

Arkansas voters in 2004 approved Amendment 83, an amendment to the state's constitution which defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

Late last year, Piazza refused plaintiffs' request to stop enforcement of the ban, but he also denied the state's request to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was one of the first filed after the Supreme Court in June struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to legally married gay couples, and issued a ruling which opened the door for same-sex marriages to resume in California.