Attorney who challenged same sex marriage ban dies at 62


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Attorney Jack Wagoner, who helped successfully challenge Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage before state and federal courts, has died. He was 62.

Wagoner died in Little Rock on Tuesday, said Bruce Tennant, an attorney who worked with him at his law firm. Tennant said a cause of death was not yet known.

Wagoner represented same-sex couples who challenged a constitutional amendment that Arkansas voters put in the state’s constitution in 2004 defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A state judge in 2014 struck down the amendment as unconstitutional, which led to more than 500 same-sex couples marrying before the Arkansas Supreme Court put the ruling on hold.

The state Supreme Court didn’t rule on whether the ban was constitutional before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide in 2015. A federal judge also struck down Arkansas’ ban, but put her ruling on hold.

At the time of the rulings, Wagoner predicted that gay marriage would eventually be legal nationwide.

“It’s pretty clear where history’s heading on this issue,” Wagoner said.

Cheryl Maples, an attorney who had also represented the couples, died in 2019.