Judge Rules Arkansas Must Recognize Gay Marriages

June 11, 2015

State marriage licenses issued to gay couples last year are just as valid as those issued to their heterosexual counterparts, a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled Tuesday as Arkansas waits for a higher court to decide the question of whether same-sex couples have a right to marry.

Judge Wendell Griffen — ruling in a lawsuit seeking to force state officials to recognize same-sex unions that have been solemnized with state licenses — called arguments against honoring those licenses “logically absurd and fundamentally unjust.” His ruling comes a day after hearing arguments in the 4-month-old suit.

The plaintiffs were two couples who married on May 12, 2014, their first opportunity to wed in Little Rock, after another judge’s ruling that the Arkansas ban on samesex marriage is illegal.

The question of whether that same-sex marriage prohibition, built on state constitutional amendment and statutory law, is legal has been before the state Supreme Court since Nov. 20. A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of whether marriage is a right could be issued by the end of the month.

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