Ten years after Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, a judge struck down the ban late yesterday. This morning, the first same-sex marriage license was issued. The decision came down late yesterday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza. Here is a quote from the ruling:
Although marriage is not expressly identified as a fundamental right in the Constitution, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized it as such."
Writing of the ban, Piazza added:
This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality. The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent.""
Dustin McDaniel, the state attorney general and a Democrat, opposes the ban, but said he would defend the voter-approved measure in court. He requested a stay on the ruling, but after the request went unaddressed, it was game on.
The license was issued in Carroll County, Arkansas, which has regular Saturday hours for obtaining marriage licenses.— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) May 10, 2014
Judges have struck down same-sex marriage bans in a number of states although all of the rulings have been issued with stays from enforcement so that appeals can take place.
For example, earlier this spring, same-sex couples in Michigan were permitted to marry during a seven-hour window before a stay was issued. The state is not recognizing those marriages...yet. We'll see what happens in Arkansas.