Compiled by Dawn Wolfe
Arkansas: The Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee and the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will have their chance to argue whether or not to allow a ballot proposal that would ban marriages between same-sex couples before the state Supreme Court on Sept. 23. This week, the high court granted a request from the amendment committee to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. The committee had turned in more than 200,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.
Florida: The U.S. government has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the 8-year-old federal law that bans equal marriage rights.
A Justice Department spokesman said it was the government’s first direct legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allows states to refuse to recognize marriages of same-sex couples from other states.
In the lawsuit, four same-sex couples argue that the 1996 law is unconstitutional. The Aug. 27 Justice Department’s motion to dismiss argues that the couples have no constitutional standing to challenge the federal law because they are not married in any state.
Louisiana: On Sept. 1, the state Supreme Court has refused to take up legal challenges aimed at keeping a proposed constitutional ban on equal marriage rights and civil unions off the Sept. 18 ballot. A court spokeswoman said the justices refused to consider two, and said the third had not been filed in time.
North Dakota: State residents gathered enough signatures to force a November vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, the Secretary of State said Sept.1. A petition circulated by the North Dakota Family Alliance had 42,093 legal signatures, considerably more than the 25,688 needed to put the idea on the November ballot. The amendment would deny legal recognition to marriages of same-sex couples or civil unions, an option considered a legal alternative for gay and lesbian couples who seek the rights normally conferred on married people.