Court Puts Gay Marriages in Arkansas on Hold

May 15, 2014

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request to stay a circuit judge’s ruling that Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, saying the judge has not ruled on a state law that prohibits county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The high court also dismissed without prejudice the state’s appeal of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling, saying Piazza has not yet issued a final order.

Piazza ruled Friday that Arkansas’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman violates rights guaranteed under both the state and federal constitutions. A handful of counties reacted to the ruling by beginning to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, though by Wednesday only Pulaski and Washington counties were continuing to do so.

The state attorney general’s office filed an appeal this week with the state Supreme Court and asked the court to stay Piazza’s ruling, and the plaintiffs, a group of Arkansas same-sex couples, responded by asking the court to dismiss the appeal and deny a stay.

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