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Arkansas Supremes Deny Stay, Dismiss Marriage Appeal for Now

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2014

But it looks like same-sex marriages in Arkansas will come to an end anyway, at least temporarily. From the Arkansas Times blog:

The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied an request for an emergency stay of Judge Chris Piazza’s order overturning the ban on same-sex marriage. The court also dismissed as premature an appeal of Piazza’s ruling because it wasn’t a final order.

Marriage equality remains the law of the land in Arkansas, but the court injected a wrinkle that will give counties cover to continue to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And that wrinkle has prompted Pulaski Clerk Larry Crane to say that, for the time being, his office likely will cease issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

The court noted that Piazza’s ruling didn’t mention a statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. It remains in effect. Action will now shift to Piazza’s court to pursue final orders, injunctive relief and a cleanup on the omitted statute.

Said Jack Wagoner, attorney for the plaintffs:

We’ll fix that tomorrow and be back here again…. How can you  find something unconstitutional but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional?

Right now, this is throwing everything into chaos. The Carroll County (Eureka Springs) Clerk, which issued fifteen same-sex marriage licenses last Saturday, had already stopped issuing licenses by Monday after the local prosecutor issued a statement saying, “there was a law left on the books prohibiting a county clerk from issuing a marriage license to persons of the same gender. This  law was not addressed by Judge Piazza, and because of this, we advised the county clerk to stop  selling marriage licenses to persons of the same gender.” Marion and Saline Counties reversed course and stopped issuing licenses yesterday. Washington County  has indicated that it may also halt the issuing of licenses to same-sex couples.

Once the trial court fixes its order and enters a final judgment, I think you can expect that some counties will honor the ruling and some won’t, and the state will be back again before the Arkansas Supreme Court for another go at a stay and appeal.

You can read the Arkansas Supreme Court’s statement here (PDF: 237KB/7 pages).

Comments

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Hyhybt
May 15th, 2014 | LINK

Why does the state Supreme Court get a say at all?

Ben in Oakland
May 15th, 2014 | LINK

It was a state case, not a federal one.

Hyhybt
May 15th, 2014 | LINK

That would do it. Thanks.

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