US: Arkansas same-sex weddings could start on Monday

Same-sex couples in Arkansas could begin to marry on Monday, after a judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Judge Chris Piazza yesterday ruled that a constitutional amendment violated the rights of same-sex couples by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The ruling came late on Friday – after county clerks offices had closed for the week – meaning the first marriages are set to take place when they open on Monday.

Larry Crane, the Pulaski County Clerk, confirmed to the Arkansas Times that he will be ready to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples by Monday morning.

He did not immediately issue a stay on his ruling, meaning it is already in effect despite the state’s plans to appeal.

The state’s Attorney General has urged Piazza to reconsider his decision not to issue a stay, saying: “We will request that Judge Piazza issue a stay of his ruling so as not to create confusion or uncertainty about the law while the Supreme Court considers the matter.”

A stay would put the law back into force, preventing marriages until the conclusion of the appeals process, which could take months if the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

Same-sex couples were left in limbo in Utah and Michigan, when stays were issued after hundreds had already begun to marry.