Circuit Judge Chris Piazza
Danny Johnston—AP
By Noah Rayman
May 9, 2014

A judge in Arkansas said Friday that the state’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex couples to marry.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down the ban, which voters overwhelmingly supported in 2004, the Associated Press reports.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel last week became the first elected official in the state to support marriage equality, but he said he would continue to defend the ban. His office is expected to appeal Friday’s ruling.

Judges in federal courts in five other states have struck down gay marriage bans since late last year, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law forbidding the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

In Arkansas, the defense argued that an amendment to the state constitution cannot be deemed unconstitutional, while the plaintiffs said even the state constitution cannot supersede their rights to due process and equal protection. A separate case has challenged the state’s law in federal court.

[AP]

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