John M. Becker

Marriages Halt in Arkansas Amid Confusion

Filed By John M. Becker | May 15, 2014 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Arkansas, Arkansas Supreme Court, federal court, gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

stop_sign.jpgYesterday's confusing ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court has halted further same-sex marriages in the state, at least for now.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

Although the justices refused to suspend the lower court's ruling overturning the state constitution's gay marriage ban, they said the ruling didn't address a separate state law that, among other things, bars county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"I think it actually makes it a little more muddy," Chris Villines, the executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties, said Wednesday evening after reviewing the Supreme Court's decision. Lawyers for both sides are expected to seek clarification from the court on Thursday.

Last Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza threw out a 10-year-old ban that voters placed in the state constitution and a separate state law barring same-sex marriages. But he didn't rule on the separate law that regulates the conduct of county clerks, which threatens fines if they issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Clerks in five counties responded to Piazza's decision by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, and more than 450 gay couples in Arkansas have since received permission to marry. Two counties continued to issue licenses on Wednesday, but they stopped after the Supreme Court's ruling. Couples that already have licenses can still get married.

Looks like the next step will be getting further clarification from the Arkansas Supreme Court and Judge Piazza. Stay tuned...

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