Arkansas Judge Strikes Down State’s Gay Marriage Ban


Arkansas Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has struck down the state's ban on gay marriage!

The Arkansas Times reports:

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza today invalidated the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of marriages legally entered by same-sex couples in other states. An appeal is expected. The judge did not stay his ruling, though the state probably can be expected to request a stay.

The order came after county clerks ofices closed for the week. But they can expect a flood of applicants Monday morning. Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane said he'd be ready with software to issue gender-netural marriage licenses Monday morning

The lawsuit challenged both the state constitution and statutory bans.

An important question now is how quickly the appeal can be completed and decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The court takes a summer recess and briefing schedules can take months after the record of the case is completed.

Read the full ruling HERE.

The case was brought by 21 gay couples and one woman seeking a divorce from a woman she married in New York. The couples claimed that Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution, passed in 2004, which defines marriage between a man and a woman, violates both the state and federal constitutions.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel this week said he personally supports marriage equality but plans to defend the state's ban in court.



  1. simon says

    Marriage of cousins were quite common in the past. Actually it was only natural they grew up together and the social circles in those times were quite small.

  2. TKinSC says

    “In this case, Article 2 S 2 was left intact by the voters, but in Amendment 83
    they singled out same-sex couples for the purpose of disparate treatment. This is
    an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality.”

    So a state constitutional amendment violates the state constitution? Gotcha.

    “Defendants contend that the Eighth Circuit decision in Citizens for Equal
    Protection v. Bruning, 455 F. 3’d 859 (2006) is dispositive of this issue because it
    upheld a Nebraska constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. However, both the
    Donaldson and Bruning decisions predate Windsor….”

    Arkansas is in the Eighth Circuit, and therefore bound by its decisions unless and until the 8th Circuit or the Supreme Court say otherwise. Windsor did not overrule Bruning, and *expressly denied* application to any marriages other than those already legal in the state involved.

    This judge should be disbarred.

  3. says

    @TKINSC: Keep dreaming. If you and your right-wing brethren want to disbar every judge who finds these state bans unconstitutional, you have a lot of work to do (and zero chance of catching the dominoes falling one by one).

    This decision is the future, another firm take-down of these states’ misguided attempts to deprive gay citizens of their constitutional guarantee of equal protection. It’s not these decisions that will be seen as historical aberrations, it’s the bans that made these cases necessary in the first place.

  4. TKinSC says

    @ERNIE – It’s not about disbarring every judge who finds the ban unconstitutional. It’s about disbarring judges who are chomping at the bit to do so, so much so that they issue rulings that are contrary to both simple logic (“This state constitutional amendment violates the state constitution”) and direct on-point precedent (Bruning), and that cites a case (Windsor) that *expressly said* it should not be used to force unwilling states to adopt gay “marriage”.

    And then, to top it off, refusing to stay the ruling in spite of the Supreme Court having done just that in the case of Utah.

    The fact is the entire judiciary is either wingbat liberal, or, if conservative, too eager to overcorrect for bias. And of course the temptation to issue a “landmark” ruling is a hard one to resist.

    Regardless of one’s view of the underlying issue, this Rambo-style judiciary has got to stop. If gay “marriage” really is a constitutional right, the Supreme Court will say so in good time. Until then, lower courts have no business jumping in front of them.

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