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Case: Wright v. Arkansas

60CV-13-2662 | Arkansas state trial court

Filed Date: July 1, 2013

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 1, 2013, a group of same-sex couples wishing to marry or to have their existing out-of-state marriages recognized, filed a lawsuit in the Arkansas Circuit Court of Pulaski County against the State of Arkansas. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that Arkansas Constitutional Amendment 83 and various provisions of the Arkansas Code which exclude same-sex couples from marrying and forbid recognition of lawful same-…

On July 1, 2013, a group of same-sex couples wishing to marry or to have their existing out-of-state marriages recognized, filed a lawsuit in the Arkansas Circuit Court of Pulaski County against the State of Arkansas. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that Arkansas Constitutional Amendment 83 and various provisions of the Arkansas Code which exclude same-sex couples from marrying and forbid recognition of lawful same-sex marriages entered into in other states, violate the right to equal protection and due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Rights provision of the Arkansas Constitution.

The plaintiffs come from various walks of life and occupations. However, all have been in committed relationships for many years and several are raising children together. Plaintiffs argued that denial of marriage conveys the State's view that plaintiffs' private relationships and families are of lesser value that those of opposite-sex couples. The plaintiffs also claimed that the denial of marriage deprives them of the broad array of protections and benefits that opposite-sex couples receive when they are recognized as married under state law. For example, Arkansas's refusal to recognize plaintiffs' marriages unlawfully denied them the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse, file joint tax returns, and gain access to health insurance, retirement benefits, property protections, and inheritance.

On May 9, 2014, Judge Christopher Piazza granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and found the laws at issue to be unconstitutional. The Court found the provisions to be in violation of the equal protection guarantees included in both the U.S. and Arkansas constitutions. Immediately following the Court's order, the State appealed and requested a stay from the trial court pending appeal, which was denied. On May 16, 2014, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a stay of the lower court's decision. The case is ongoing and oral argument in the Supreme Court is scheduled for November 20, 2014.

Summary Authors

Nate West (11/20/2014)

People


Judge(s)

Piazza, Chris (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Jorgensen, Colin R. (Arkansas)

Mann, Angela Griffith (Arkansas)

Maples, Cheryl (Arkansas)

Smith, Kathleen (Arkansas)

Wagoner, Jack III (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fuqua, David M. (Arkansas)

Hogue, David R. (Arkansas)

McDaniel, Dustin (Arkansas)

Owens, Jason E. (Arkansas)

Judge(s)

Piazza, Chris (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Jorgensen, Colin R. (Arkansas)

Mann, Angela Griffith (Arkansas)

Maples, Cheryl (Arkansas)

Smith, Kathleen (Arkansas)

Wagoner, Jack III (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fuqua, David M. (Arkansas)

Hogue, David R. (Arkansas)

McDaniel, Dustin (Arkansas)

Owens, Jason E. (Arkansas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

60CV-13-2662

Docket

Oct. 7, 2015

Oct. 7, 2015

Docket

60CV-13-2662

Complaint

July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013

Complaint

60CV-13-2662

Third Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Sept. 30, 2013

Sept. 30, 2013

Complaint

60CV-13-2662

Order Granting Summary Judgment in Favor of the Plaintiffs

May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014

Order/Opinion

60CV-13-2662

Order Denying Defendants' Motion for Immediate Stay

May 15, 2014

May 15, 2014

Order/Opinion

CV-14-427

Formal Order

Arkansas state supreme court

May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Arkansas

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 1, 2013

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are same-sex couples who wish to marry or have their legal out-of-state marriages recognized.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Arkansas, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Marriage

Discrimination-basis:

Family discrimination

Gender identity

Sex discrimination

Sexual orientation

Affected Gender:

Female

Male