LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The couples challenging Arkansas' gay marriage ban are asking the state's highest court to lift its stay in the case and allow clerks to resume issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

The couples on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to lift its stay of a Pulaski County judge's ruling that a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. Justices suspended Judge Chris Piazza's ruling in May while they considered the appeal.

More than 500 same-sex couples were married before justices suspended Piazza's ruling.

The court heard oral arguments in the case in November, but the state is asking for a new hearing before justices.

The couples argued that the stay issued is depriving gay couples of their rights.