LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a motion calling for any of the justices who plan to seek re-election to recuse from hearing a case challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a motion calling for any of the justices who plan to seek re-election to recuse from hearing a case challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.


A group of same-sex couples who sued over the ban had argued that actions by state legislators amounted to attempts to intimidate the court and that justices who plan to seek re-election could be perceived as having been influenced by the Legislature if the court were to uphold the ban.


The court denied the motion Thursday without comment.


The state is appealing Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza’s May 9 ruling that Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court stayed the ruling a week after it was issued, but in the meantime several hundred same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses in the state.


In June, the state Legislative Council, the main legislative body that meets during the interim between sessions, voted to adopt a resolution by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, urging the Supreme Court to overturn Piazza’s ruling and accusing him of violating his oath to uphold the state constitution.


The resolution also said legislators would seek remedies to prevent future "judicial activism." The plaintiffs argued that the resolution, as well as a comment by Rapert that Piazza "may end up being the poster child for judicial recall in this state," were meant to intimidate the justices.


Aaron Sadler, spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, said Thursday, "As the attorney general stated when the motion was filed, it is a nonstarter to file recusal motions simply because justices must hear controversial cases and then stand for election. We respect the court’s decision."


Jack Wagoner, attorney for the plaintiffs, said that despite the denial of the motion he believed the court would give the case a fair hearing.


"We asked the justices to search their consciences and to see if they thought there was an issue there, and if they don’t believe there is, then I trust that that’s the case and I’m sure that they’ll rule fairly on the case," he said.