Law professor: SCOTUS DOMA decision does not affect Arkansas - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Law professor: SCOTUS DOMA decision does not affect Arkansas

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act will not affect Arkansas.

The decision does not take away the rights of legally-married same-sex couples receiving tax, health and pension benefits that go to married couples of the opposite sex. But it does not grant those rights across the board, instead leaving the decision up to individual states, according to Terri Beiner, a professor at UALR's School of Law specializing in constitutional law.

"I can now say I'm proud to be a citizen again," said Robert Loyd, who has been with his partner, John Schenck, for 37 years.

They have also been married five times, once on the steps of the Capitol in Little Rock. None of those five marriages are recognized by Arkansas.

The Supreme Court's DOMA ruling does not change that.

"I figure Arkansas is going to be the last, the 50th state to do that," Loyd said. "But that's okay. I'm patient."

"It's a state's rights case, explained Beiner. "There's a cadre on the courts that's willing to acknowledge the states have the right to define marriage."

Sarah Bean with Little Rock's Family Council said she agrees with decision to leave it up to individual states.

"What it comes down to is people wanting to change the definition of marriage and we do not want to see that change," Bean said.

"If folks want to extend marriage to same sex couples it's going to have to be something that's done at the state level, either through state legislation or some sort of challenge under state law," Beiner said.

Loyd and Schenck are looking to do just that. The couple said they are now seeking legal action to challenge the state's law banning gay marriage.