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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'

Cover

Beautiful.

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

Scenes_from_arkansas

Continue reading "Marriage Equality 'At Last': The Cover of the 'Arkansas Times'" »


Judge Clears Way for Gay Marriages to Begin Again in Arkansas

Yesterday the Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban because it wasn't a final ruling. It also denied a request for an emergency stay of the ruling. But marriages were unable to continue because Piazza's ruling didn't mention another statute prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

PiazzaThat has now been fixed, and marriages can begin again as Piazza has struck all bans, The AP reports:

A day after the state Supreme Court effectively halted gay marriages in the state, Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza expanded his ruling striking down a constitutional ban to also include the prohibition on clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Justices had ruled Wednesday that Piazza's decision on the gay marriage ban did not change that license law.

Piazza also rejected a request to suspend his ruling, saying there's no evidence the state would be harmed by allowing gay marriages to continue.

Said Piazza: "A stay would operate to further damage Arkansas families and deprive them of equal access to the rights associated with marriage status in this state."


Thursday Speed Read: NOM and Oregon, Idaho Stay, Arkansas, Lorri Jean, South Carolina, Give Out Day

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

McshaneJUDGE SAYS NO TO NOM:

U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane yesterday denied the National Organization for Marriage motion to serve as intervenor to defend Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage. McShane, who is openly gay, held a hearing on two consolidated lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the ban. Because the state attorney general said her office could not vouch for the ban’s constitutionality, no one argued in its defense. McShane is expected to issue his decision on that issue soon and, if he finds it unconstitutional, same-sex couples may be able to obtain marriage licenses right away. NOM has said it will appeal McShane’s ruling on the intervenor motion to the Ninth Circuit.

Flag_idahoIDAHO RUSHES TO APPEAL FOR STAY:

Idaho Governor Butch Otter is also on his way to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Otter is appealing the decision Wednesday by Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale to deny his request that she stay her decision striking the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Dale’s ruling on the ban, issued Tuesday, will go into effect Friday morning unless Otter is able to secure a stay from the federal appeals court.

Arkansas_supremeARKANSAS COMPLICATIONS:

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition from the state’s attorney general for an emergency stay of a county circuit judge’s May 9 ruling that two state laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The high court said that, for procedural reasons, the supreme court does not yet have jurisdiction. Responding to the attorney general’s argument that county clerks around the state are uncertain as to whether they should issues licenses or wait for the results of an appeal, the supreme court noted that Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling said nothing about a separate Arkansas law “and its prohibitions against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses.” Jack Wagoner, an attorney for the 12 plaintiff couples, told the Arkansas Times he’d be in court today to “fix” the problem. “How can you find something unconstitutional,” said Wagoner, “but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional?”

JeanANOTHER VOICE ON ENDA FRAILTY:

Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center Executive Director Lorri Jean, speaking to “An Evening with Women” event on Saturday, had this to say about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act: “Religious freedom does not include the freedom to oppress other people. These kinds of fundamentalist forces are behind efforts to gut what laws we do have in this country that protect LGBT people from discrimination….Even our own Employment Non-Discrimination Act—the only federal law currently being proposed to protect LGBT people—includes a broad religious exemption. It was put into ENDA eight years ago, expressly to weaken it. It does not belong there today.” Former NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman said Monday he thinks LGBT leaders should “pull the plug” on the current version of ENDA, saying it is “essentially a lifeless corpse.”

SouthcarolinaSOUTH CAROLINA SENATE RESTORES FUNDS:

The South Carolina Senate on Wednesday approved a state budget Tuesday that restores the $70,000 cut from the funding for two public universities over their use of books with positive depictions of gay people. But according to the State newspaper, the senate stipulated that the restored funds should be used to teach the constitution and other founding documents.

A DAY TO GIVE “OUT” TO LGBT COMMUNITY:

Today is “Give Out Day,” an event scheduled to encourage supporters of LGBT organizations to donate to them. Last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the event raised over $600,000, from 5,474 individuals in support of over 400 nonprofits groups across the country.
© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Arkansas Supreme Court Dismisses Appeal of Gay Marriage Ruling, Denies Emergency Stay

The Arkansas Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal of Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban because it wasn't a final ruling. It also denied a request for an emergency stay of the ruling, the Arkansas Times reports:

Arkansas_supremeThe court, however, seems to have returned the state to its old status quo — impossible for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses — because it notes that Piazza's ruling didn't mention another statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Action will now shift to Piazza's court to pursue final orders, injunctive relief and a cleanup on the omitted statute.

Said Jack Wagoner, attorney for the plaintiffs:

We'll fix that tomorrow and be back here again.... How can order find something unconstitutional but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional?  

Justices Donald Corbin and Paul Danielson issued a separate concurrence that said the simply would have dismissed the appeal for lack of a final order and rejected the emergency stay request because the case is still before the trial court.

Read the order HERE.


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