Gay Marriage on Hold in Arkansas Following New Ruling

Beth Moore, Abby Hill, Jeremy Hernandez
Sarah Bentham—AP Beth Moore, left, and her partner Abby Hill, center, exchange vows in a marriage ceremony performed by Jeremy Hernandez, right, at the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Ark., Friday May 16, 2014.

A week after Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down Arkansas’ ban on gay marriage, the state's Supreme Court has suspended his ruling and halted the distribution of marriage licenses. Before the court’s suspension, over 450 same-sex couples got married in the state

The Arkansas Supreme Court suspended a judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban Friday, stopping the distribution of marriage licenses to hundreds of gay couples.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down a 2004 amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman last week and expanded his ruling on Thursday to include all state laws banning gay marriage. The counties named in the lawsuit asked justices to stay Piazza’s ruling as they appeal.

The Supreme Court denied a request on Wednesday to stay his initial ruling, but effectively halted gay weddings when they pointed out a separate law that forbids clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was still on the books. Piazza’s Thursday ruling rejected the state’s request to put his decision on hold saying that gay couples would be harmed by such action. Counties resumed issuing licenses.

Over 450 same-sex couples had received marriage licenses since Piazza’s ruling, according to USA Today. Friday’s ruling put a halt to the licenses again, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, a resolution by Republicans to invalidate the licenses issued to same-sex couples failed before a legislative panel on Friday.

Gay marriage is currently legal in seventeen states.


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