Arkansas Attorney General Dustin
McDaniel on Monday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reverse a
lower court ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.
McDaniel argued that Pulaski County
Circuit Judge Chris Piazza was wrong to find the state's 2004
voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as a
heterosexual union to be unconstitutional.
In appealing the case to the state's
highest court, McDaniel argued against the finding.
“As a matter of well-established
Arkansas law, a constitutional provision cannot violate earlier
provisions of the constitution,” the brief states. “Where there
is an inconsistency between an earlier provision of the Arkansas
Constitution and a later amendment, the amendment, being the more
recent expression of the will of the people, prevails.”
Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane
disagreed and urged the court to uphold Piazza's May ruling, which
led to 541 gay and lesbian couples receiving marriage licenses before
the state Supreme Court intervened.
“The intended and actual effect of
Amendment 83 is to forever banish those in same-sex committed
relationships to an inferior and unequal status,” an attorney
representing Crane wrote. “The reasons offered by the state cannot
be squared with our constitutional guarantee of equality.”
McDaniel, a Democrat, previously said
he supports marriage equality but will continue to defend the state's
restrictive marriage ban.