Arkansas Supreme Court ruling halts issuing of same-sex marriage licenses

[JURIST] The Arkansas Supreme Court [official website] issued an unsigned order [text, PDF] Thursday declining to put on hold a ruling that overturned the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. The court however, ruled that the the circuit court's order had no effect on Ark. Code Ann. § 9-11-208(b) [AP report] and its prohibition against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage license, effectively preventing same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses in the state. Last week Judge Chris Piazza for Arkansas' Pulaski County Circuit Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, striking down both the Arkansas General Assembly Act 144 of 1997 and the 2004 Amendment 83 of the Arkansas State Constitution [text, PDF]. According to the Associated Press, after the circuit court's decision last Friday, clerks in five counties issued [AP report] marriage licenses to 456 same-sex couples in Arkansas. The 456 couples issued licenses will still be able to get married. The State's 70 other counties chose not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until the State Supreme Court has ruled on the issue.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the legal community today. Earlier this week a judge for the US District Court for the District of Idaho [official website] struck down [JURIST report] Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage. Also this week five same-sex couples filed a lawsuit challenging Alaska's same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report]. Last week Indiana was ordered to recognize [JURIST report] an out-of-state same-sex marriage pending an appeal. A challenge is expected to South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban, leaving North Dakota and Montana as the only states [TIME report] whose same-sex marriage bans have not been challenged in court.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.