LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Saturday he supports allowing same-sex couples to wed but will continue defending his state’s 2004 ban on gay marriages in court.
McDaniel, a Democrat serving his final year as the state’s top attorney, became the first statewide official in Arkansas to back same-sex marriage.
‘‘I want to tell you I do support marriage equality and I do believe Arkansans should have the right to be equal in the eyes of the law,’’ said McDaniel, at the Associated Press Managing Editors convention.
Voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, but that ban and others nationwide face legal challenges.
Seventeen states permit gay marriage, and federal judges have struck down bans in Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia. An Arkansas judge is expected to rule by Friday in a lawsuit challenging the ban in Arkansas.
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