- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday paid its outstanding $505 docketing fee, less than one day after a federal appeals court threatened to dismiss the state’s attempt to restore a gay marriage ban because of the missed payment.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals notified the state Jan. 7 that the money was due Jan. 21 and gave the state two weeks to demonstrate why its appeal shouldn’t be dropped.

State attorneys on Tuesday filed a motion asking the court not to toss out the state’s request. They said the delayed payment was accidental.

A spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, blamed clerical errors that happened before she took office this month.

“The issue was taken care of immediately and the appeal will proceed as planned,” said spokesman Judd Deere. “The attorney general is committed to defending any challenge against Arkansas’ constitution.”

He said the office is taking additional steps to make sure there aren’t any more transitional hiccups.

“There are procedures being put in place to make sure nothing like this happens again,” Deere said.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in November tossed a voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. She put her decision on hold pending the appeal.

In a separate motion on a gay marriage appeal before the Arkansas Supreme Court, lawyers for same-sex couples objected to the state’s request to conduct new oral arguments.

Attorneys Cheryl Maples and Jack Wagoner on Tuesday petitioned the court to deny the request made by the state on Friday. They said the state’s request is unusual and that their clients cannot afford further delay.

Justices held oral arguments in November but haven’t issued a ruling.

Rutledge noted that two new justices have joined the state Supreme Court since it heard the arguments. Deere said her stance isn’t impacted by the plaintiff’s objection.

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