"Same-Sex Marriages Resume In At Least Two Arkansas County After Clarifying Order [Updated]"
Addressing the discrepancies that led the Arkansas Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages in the state, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza issued a clarifying order Thursday afternoon correcting the oversights and clarifying that any state statute banning same-sex marriage is to be overturned.
Piazza also denied a stay in the ruling, arguing that same-sex couples would experience irreparable harm if further denied their constitutional right to equal protection under the law. They have not, he wrote, “been afforded the same measure of human dignity, respect and recognition by this state as their similarly situated, opposite-sex counterparts.” Thus, he concluded, “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.”
ThinkProgress reached out to the clerk’s offices in Pulaski, Washington, Marion, Saline, and Carroll Counties, the five counties that had issued at least some same-sex marriage licenses since Piazza’s original decision on Friday. As of publication, only Pulaski County had resumed issuing licenses Thursday afternoon in response to Piazza’s final order, though some others indicated that they were still awaiting final recommendations from their county attorneys.
The Saline Count Clerk’s office provided ThinkProgress with an official statement the office released earlier this week when it ceased issuing licenses. Though it cited the inconsistencies in Piazza’s original decision to explain its decision, it also declared that it will not resume issuing licenses “until the law is clarified and the state is following one law in unity.”
Washington County has now resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as well.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has since stayed the decision, ending the issuance of licenses.