Thursday, May 15, 2014
Last Friday, Arkansas County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down a ten-year ban on same-sex marriage enacted by voters. Although Judge Piazza held the ban to be unconstitutional, he did not rule on the separate law that regulates the conduct of county clerks, which imposes fines if they issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Until this issue is decided, gay marriages have been put on hold.
On Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court refused to put a hold on Judge Piazza’s ruling, rejecting the state attorney general’s request for a stay. However, same-sex couples are unable to marry until county clerks can issue licenses. In their ruling, the justices noted that the rules governing clerks remains on the books since Piazza did not specifically void it. Lawyers for gay couples assert that Piazza could incorporate broader language when he files a final order. “I would argue that it is implicit in his ruling, but we’re going to have to get him to address that.”
See Christina Huynh, Arkansas Gay Marriages End, For Now, After Ruling, Associated Press, May 14, 2014.
Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.