Arkansas Hub

Arkansas AG Asks Judge to Keep State's Gay Marriage Ban in Place

McdanielArkansas' Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is asking a federal judge to keep the state's ban on same-sex marriage in place, arguing the ban is constitutional and serves a legitimate purpose.

Arkansas News Bureau reports:

In a brief filed Wednesday, McDaniel's office argued, "The United States Supreme Court has recognized a bevy of legitimate state interests that are directly implicated and furthered by Amendment 83 and Act 144 of 1997."

The attorney general's office argued that those interests include preserving the referendum process; advancing procreation; promoting stable family environments in which children are raised by their biological parents; preserving social norms linked to the historical and deeply-rooted meaning of marriage; and taking a cautious approach to governmental social experimentation. 

In May, McDaniel announced his support for marriage equality but pledged to defend his state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Arkansas Lawmakers Approve Resolution in Support of State’s Gay Marriage Ban

The Arkansas Legislative Council, the organizing committee for the state’s General Assembly, has approved a resolution urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage that was struck down by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chirs Piazza back in May.

Southwest Times Record reports:

Sen. Jason RapertThe non-binding resolution by Sen. Jason Rapert [pictured], R-Conway, had 59 of the 135 members of the Arkansas Legislature as co-sponsors. Legislators adopted it in a voice vote with only a few “no” votes heard. […]

The resolution states that “Judge Piazza’s resolution is in direct contradiction to his oath to uphold the Arkansas Constitution” and that the Legislative Council “shall explore legislative remedies to prevent the Arkansas Constitution and the will of the people of this state from being negated by judicial activism which violates the separation of powers ensured in our form of government.”

Rapert told reporters he expected Friday’s action to be followed by an effort to create a system of judicial recall in Arkansas. Work has already begun on developing a citizens’ initiative to allow judges to be recalled, he said.

Watch THV11's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Monday Speed Read: Utah, Arkansas, Porterville Mayor, Obama vs. Homophobia, Sacred Heart Tux

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service


U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane of Oregon said Friday he would issue his decision at noon PDT today in litigation challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Unless McShane puts a stay on his own decision, a ruling against the ban would likely go into effect immediately.  Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum refused to defend the ban in court, saying it was unconstitutional. Officials in several counties have already indicated they are prepared to issue licenses as soon as such a decision is announced.


Arkansas county circuit court Judge Chris Piazza issued an amended and final decision May 15 to make clear he intended to include, in his original May 9 ruling striking down two laws banning same-sex couples from marrying, a third law that prohibits county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The next day, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a one-sentence order, granting the state’s request for a stay on Piazza’s decision pending the state’s appeal before the state high court. And then, the Republican speaker of the Arkansas House voted against suspension of House rules to allow for a vote on a resolution to urge the state supreme court to overturn Piazza’s ruling. The Arkansas Times reported that House Speaker Davy Carter voted against suspending the rules to allow the resolution on the floor, saying “Judicial intimidation by the legislative branch is not appropriate in this instance or any other.”


Porterville, California, is not an LGBT friendly place. Its city council last fall ousted a mayor who had declared June LGBT Pride Month and, in 2008, it supported Proposition 8. But it still startled some observers last week when the new mayor, Cameron Hamilton, said kids who are bullied should take care of the problem themselves. “I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything….All most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves,” said Hamilton, recorded by ABC News. The former mayor, Virginia Gurrola, said “It’s hard to stand up and grow a pair when you’re a ten-year-old little girl.” The proposal before the council was a resolution by Gurrola to create “safe zones” for kids during after school hours. Gay Porterville spokeswoman Melissa McMurrey said she was “shocked” by Hamilton’s remarks. The council will take up the resolution Tuesday, May 20.


The White House issued a press release Friday, saying “no one should face violence or discrimination -- no matter who they are or whom they love.” The statement was released to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which was Saturday. The president’s statement also noted that next month marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.


Students at a Catholic high school in San Francisco wore ties to school Friday to express their support of a female student who wore a tuxedo for her senior portrait. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory requires female students to wear dresses for their senior portraits and took Jessica Urbina’s photo out of the yearbook. But school officials told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday that the tie-day action “sparked a campus-wide dialogue which will result in a revision of policy."
© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

Arkansas Supreme Court Halts Gay Marriages

The Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a stay of Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban.

Arkansas_supremeThe Arkansas Times reports:

This will again end the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Arkansas. It's been an on-and-off process in a handful of counties since Saturday, with most of some 500 licenses issued in Pulaski County. Video above from Fox 16's David Goins shows one of the last ceremonies at the Pulaski County Courthouse.

Piazza's decision will now go through the appeal process. A record of the lower court case must be prepared. A briefing schedule must be set and probably oral arguments. The court takes a two-month recess each summer. Even with an expedited schedule, it's uncertain if the case can be decided this calendar year, when two of the current justices — Cliff Hoofman and Donald Corbin — will be replaced by Rhonda Wood and the winner of a race between Judge Robin Wynne and Tim Cullen.

Arkansas Republicans Fail (For Now) to Pass Resolution Urging State Supreme Court to Uphold Gay Marriage Ban

Conservative Arkansas lawmakers tried to pass a resolution proposed by state Senator Jason Rapert today urging the Supreme Court to uphold the state's ban on gay marriage. It failed, the AP reports:

RapertA non-binding resolution objecting to a judge's decision striking down the ban failed before the Arkansas Legislative Council on a procedural vote Friday. The resolution would have urged justices to overturn Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down all measures preventing gay couples from marrying.

The Arkansas Times has more:

A motion to suspend the rules was necessary for consideration of the resolution because it wasn't filed with adequate notice before the meeting. That required a two-thirds vote. Rep. Greg Leding asked for a roll call. The two-thirds vote failed on the Senate side, with 8-6 in favor, but short of the two-thirds (10) necessary. The House contingent voted heavily for consideration, 19-5. By the roll calls, the resolution would have passed had it been considered.

Then the debate became whether a two-thirds vote of all voting was needed or two-thirds from both the House and Senate delegations.  Chair John Edwards, after the division was illustrated, declared the rules suspension had failed.

Rapert argued there should have been an overall roll call vote on the resolution. Edwards gaveled the meeting to a close. Edwards is a term-limited Democrat from one of Little Rock's most liberal districts.

The resolution "is without legal meaning, but it has served its purpose of sending a message of legislative displeasure" to the state Supreme Court, which is considering the appeal of the ruling striking down the ban.

The measure will likely pass when a rules suspension is not necessary.

Marriage Equality 'At Last': The Cover of the 'Arkansas Times'



On that note, check out a new video from HRC showing scenes from the last week in Arkansas, AFTER THE JUMP...


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