A federal judge has struck down Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage, the AP reports:
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who had challenged a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, arguing that the ban violated the U.S. Constitution and discriminated based on sexual orientation.
But Baker put her ruling on hold, and the state is expected to appeal it to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis.
Baker wrote in her ruling that the state's marriage laws violate the U.S. Constitution by "precluding same-sex couples from exercising their fundamental right to marry in Arkansas, by not recognizing valid same-sex marriages from other states, and by discriminating on the basis of gender."
Arkansas' State Supreme Court is also currently considering a challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban. The justices will decide whether to uphold Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's ruling which struck down the Natural State's marriage ban or to find in favor of the state and reverse that decision. Piazza's ruling made it possible for 541 same-sex couples to say "I do" earlier this year until the state Supreme Court intervened and ordered the marriages to cease until it could review the matter.
There is no comment on this latest ruling from Arkansas' Attorney General Dustin McDaniels (D) who has previously stated that he will defend the state's ban despite his personal support for marriage equality.
READ the ruling below: