US: Arkansas clerk to stop marrying same-sex couples temporarily

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A county clerk in Arkansas has said he will temporarily stop marrying same-sex couples, after a Supreme Court ruling caused legal confusion.

Arkansas judge Chris Piazza struck down the state’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban on Friday, leading hundreds of couples to immediately attempt to marry.

Though most counties declined to issue marriage licenses until directed to, on Saturday a lesbian couple became the first to marry, when Pulaski County decided to begin marrying couples.

However, according to the Arkansas Times the state’s Supreme Court has now noted that Piazza’s ruling did not mention a statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

The Supreme Court directed that the statue remains in effect, and will do so until the judge issues a final order.

Pulanski clerk Larry Crane has said that as a result, he will likely stop issuing licenses as of today.

He said: “As I have maintained all along I’m going to follow the law.

“The Supreme Court has now fairly clearly told me that, as least as of right now, I need to be following that statute, which means that in all likelihood at 8 a.m. in the morning we will not be issuing licenses.

“Having said that, I reserve the right for things to happen between now and then.

“I would anticipate that plaintiffs counsel will very quickly file some sort of pleading in the case before Judge Piazza to ask for specific relief from that statue.”

Despite their ruling temporarily ceasing the marriages, the Supreme Court declined a stay, which means that it is likely Judge Piazza will be able to issue an order to strike down the statute, allowing marriages to resume.