US: Arkansas same-sex marriages to resume after judge strikes down secondary ban

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Same-sex weddings will resume again in Arkansas tomorrow, following a ruling by a judge striking down a secondary marriage ban.

Judge Chris Piazza originally 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, the state’s Supreme Court found in a judgement yesterday that Piazza’s ruling did not mention a statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, and found it to be still in effect, causing same-sex marriages to yet again cease.

In reaction, Piazza has expanded his original ruling, striking down all statute in the state which bars same-sex couples from marrying, which may allow marriages to restart.

Piazza also rejected a request to stay his ruling yet again, saying there is “no evidence” the state would be harmed by same-sex marriages beginning now.

He said: “The same cannot be said of the plaintiffs and other same-sex couples who have not been afforded the same measure of human dignity, respect and recognition by this state as their similarly situated, opposite sex counterparts.

“A stay would operate to further damage Arkansas families and deprive them of equal access to the rights associated with marriage status in this state.”

Following the ruling, Pulanski County said it would again start issuing marriage licenses immediately.