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Hundreds of Gay Couples File into Pulaski County, Arkansas Courthouse for Marriage Licenses: VIDEO

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Hundreds of gay couples are filing into the Pulaski County Arkansas courthouse as we speak to be issued marriage licenses.

The Arkansas Times writes:

County Clerk Larry Crane plans to issue them under Judge Chris Piazza's ruling last week.

Most counties in Arkansas will not be issuing licenses, relying on legal guidance that — if the counties were not defendants in the case (only six were) — and absent a direct order to cease discriminatory practices, the state ban remains in place in those counties. At least one county that IS a defendant — Lonoke — apparently has announced it will not issue licenses. 

Several counties hoped to raise an objection about lack of proper software as a delaying tactic in hopes a court will stay the order. But even the county attorney in Republican Benton County, while claiming exemption for that county because it isn't a defendant, said claiming lack of software was a poor excuse. The counties could simply return to using paper and typewriters as they did in the pre-computer days. Perhaps a request for a contempt of court order would get Lonoke's attention.

More from the Benton County Clerk:

Benton County Clerk Tena O'Brien said Benton County was not a party to the Pulaski County case. She said until a court having jurisdiction over Benton County makes a determination similar to that made by the Pulaski County Circuit Court, Amendment 83 remains binding in Benton County and will be respected.

The county clerk said the decision is not a stance against gay marriage. She said if the law requires it, she will issue the licenses.

Watch a brief Instagram video of inside the courthouse, AFTER THE JUMP...

Arkansas native and HRC head Chad Griffin is on hand:

Continue reading "Hundreds of Gay Couples File into Pulaski County, Arkansas Courthouse for Marriage Licenses: VIDEO" »


Monday Speed Read: Arkansas, Scorecard, Ohio, Kentucky, Michael Sam

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PiazzaARKANSAS GOES DOWN:

A county circuit court judge in Arkansas on Friday ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and does not “advance any conceivable legitimate state interest necessary to support even a rational basis review.” Wright v. Arkansas was filed on behalf of 20 same-sex couples –some who sought to marry in Arkansas and some who sought to have their out-of-state marriages recognized there. Judge Chris Piazza noted that the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s law prohibiting private consensual sodomy one hear before the U.S. Supreme Court did so. And, he concluded, “It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.”

2_arkansasFIRST MARRIAGES IN ARKANSAS:

Because Judge Chris Piazza did not put a stay on his May 9 decision, same-sex couples began applying Saturday morning for marriage licenses. The first was granted in Eureka Springs to a young lesbian couple. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported couples from as far away as Texas and Oklahoma drove to Eureka to get married. It estimated 100 people were lined up when the office opened at 9 Saturday morning. The state’s attorney general, although he has said he supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, has indicated he will defend the laws on appeal and ask for a stay.

SCORECARD ON VICTORIES:

Not counting Arkansas yet, there are currently 17 states and the District of Columbia with laws that provide for marriage equality. Another nine states have had courts strike down their laws banning same-sex marriage. Eight of the nine are on appeal before federal appeals courts. Only cases for two states have been argued at the appeals level –both before the Tenth Circuit. Tomorrow, a case from Virginia will be argued before the Fourth Circuit. A case from a 10th state, Hawaii, is still pending before the Ninth Circuit which has asked for briefs by early June on why the case should not be considered moot. Hawaii’s legislature passed a bill last year, eliminating its ban on same-sex marriages.

OHIO APPEALS AS EXPECTED:

The Ohio attorney general filed a notice of appeal Friday with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asking the court to overturn a district court decision that ordered Ohio to recognize marriage licenses for same-sex couples from other states.

BeshearDIFFERENTLY SITUATED:

The Kentucky governor filed a brief May 7, asking the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In the brief for in Bourke v. Beshear, Kentucky argues that same-sex couples who want to marry are not “similarly situated” as man-woman couples who want to marry, but are “materially different.”

ST. LOUIS DRAFTS MICHAEL SAM:

Openly gay college football star Michael Sam became the first openly gay pro football player Saturday when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the last round of picks. Sam chose to come out at one of the most vulnerable times in his career –just as he was finishing up his stint at the University of Missouri and just before the National Football League’s annual draft. NBC News noted that, by staying in Missouri, Sam’s new team “ensured that he’ll be in front of a supportive fan base.”

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Arkansas AG To Appeal Marriage Ruling To State Supreme Court

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The AP reports on the state's plan:

The state's top lawyer has told the judge who overturned Arkansas' 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that he will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel gave the notice late Saturday night, but not before 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in northwest Arkansas' Carroll County, heralding the arrival of gay marriage in the Bible Belt.

Attorney, Cheryl Maples, the lead attorney who filed the lawsuit challenging the state's ban on gay marriage was at the courthouse in Carroll County when those couples were married yesterday. She said: "They shouldn't be denied the right. Under Arkansas law they say that marriage is a civil contract. Not holy matrimony, a civil contract."

AFTER THE JUMP, watch a THV11 Little Rock news segment which features interviews with several of the newly married couples and the officials who issued the marriage licenses.

Continue reading "Arkansas AG To Appeal Marriage Ruling To State Supreme Court" »


More From Today’s Historic Gay Marriages in Arkansas: PHOTOS

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Some more photos courtesy of Kat Wilson and Grav Weldon of the historic first same-sex marriages that took place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas earlier today.

Zeek Taylor and his partner of 42 years Dick Titus [pictured above] were one of the first lucky couples to obtain a marriage license at the Carroll County courthouse.

Check out some of the other couples, AFTER THE JUMP

And with still no word on whether Judge Chris Piazza will issue a stay of his Friday ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the door remains open for courthouses across the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples come Monday. Uncertainty remains on the minds of many county clerks, however...

Unlike most other courthouses in Arkansas, the Carroll County courthouse is open on Saturdays.

Continue reading "More From Today’s Historic Gay Marriages in Arkansas: PHOTOS" »


Marriage Equality Kicks Off in the South as Eureka Springs, AR Begins Issuing Licenses to Gay Couples

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Carroll County Deputy Clerk Lana Gordon, despite turning away same-sex couples earlier this morning, has relented and allowed her office to begin issuing licenses to waiting couples at the courthouse in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The news comes a day after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza issued a ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 10.57.05 AMKUAF’s Jacqueline Froelich reports that Gordon requested an attorney general's opinion this morning on whether she could issue licenses to same-sex couples. When she didn't hear back, she made the unilateral decision to not issue them and closed the office.

Around 50 couples and some supporters were gathered, but the police came to the courthouse and asked everyone to disperse. Now, the courthouse seems to be opening back up again after another deputy clerk in training, Jane Osborne, announced she would issue the licenses. 

The Arkansas Times adds that the Association of Arkansas Counties has scheduled a conference call for county clerks and county attorneys at 2 p.m. today to discuss ramifications of yesterday's Piazza ruling.

Developing..

[photos via Instagram]

 


Arkansas AG Files Stay of Gay Marriage Ruling, Eureka Springs to Begin Issuing Licenses Today: UPDATE

McdanielThe AP is reporting that Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza to suspend his ruling yesterday striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban while it’s appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Last week, McDaniel announced that he supports gay marriage but would continue defending the state's ban in court. 

And with no word yet on whether the stay will be granted, there are incoming reports that the clerk’s office in the small town of Eureka Springs will be open to issuing same-sex marriage license from 9am-1pm CT today.

Eurekasprings_arEureka Springs, which bills itself as the “Gay Capital of the Ozarks,” lies 182 miles northwest of Little Rock on the Missouri border and isn’t far from the Oklahoma border.

You can get married in Arkansas without being a resident of the state and there is no waiting period. 

UPDATE:

The Arkansas Times is reporting that same-sex couples who lined up this morning in the Eureka Springs courthouse have been told by the deputy county clerk that she would not be issuing licenses to straight or same-sex couples today because her boss, the county clerk, was out of town.


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