Same Sex Marriages Suspended After State Supreme Court Ruling

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The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to suspend a circuit judge’s ruling that the state’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. The court’s ruling, though, states a law banning same sex marriage licenses remains in place.

One local lawyer said the opinion may mean same sex marriage licenses obtained this week are illegal, and now all counties in Arkansas have suspended issuing same sex marriage licenses.

Lynn Lisk, the director of the Legal Assistance/Paralegal Department at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, said same sex couples who got married in Arkansas this week may soon have their marriage licenses revoked because of a law not addressed in last week’s ruling lifting the prohibition of same sex marriage in the state.

Lisk said Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling did more than refuse to grant a stay on the issuing of same sex marriage licenses. It also states a Pulaski County judge failed to issue a specific ruling allowing county clerks to issue same sex marriage licenses, he said.

Lisk said to clarify the issue, the original judge must issue a new ruling addressing the law that prohibits county clerks from issuing same sex marriage licenses.

“The Supreme Court says they are dismissing the appeal as untimely because the judge has not ruled on everything yet,” Lisk said. “So all those marriage licenses were technically issued in violation of a law that was still on the books.”

Lisk said at least two of his colleagues in Little Rock agree with his assessment.

A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge on Friday ruled Arkansas’ ban on same sex marriage, approved by voters in 2004, was unconstitutional. Several Arkansas counties responded by issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples earlier this week, before most of them stopped because they wanted clarity on the law.

Several county officials said earlier this week they would wait for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the subject. Pulaski and Washington counties continued handing out marriage licenses through Wednesday, bringing the total number of same sex marriage licenses issued in Washington County to 138.

County clerks for Pulaski and Washington counties, though, said they plan to discontinue handing out same sex marriage licenses, following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

(Click here to read the Supreme Court opinion)

Although the justices did not issue a stay, it is still unclear exactly what the Supreme Court ruling means for counties’ ability to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Some area same sex couples who got married this week feared a Supreme Court stay could put their marriages in uncertain territory. Wednesday’s ruling against a stay did not specifically address those fears.

Arkansas Atty. Gen. Dustin McDaniel had unsuccessfully petitioned the high court to issue a stay in the case, at least temporarily suspending the judge’s ruling.

“(McDaniel) asserts that an emergency stay is necessary ‘while this court considers the (McDaniel’s) appeal, in order to avoid confusion and uncertainty about the effect of the circuit court’s order on Arkansas marriage law,'” the Supreme Court opinion states. “Further, (McDaniel) asserts that circuit clerks across Arkansas are uncertain about whether they are required to immediately issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.”


  • Jeffsfla

    Batten down the hatches…bring in the law furniture. Hurricanes, tornadoes, fire from the sky. It all coming…NOT

  • Amy

    Disgraceful. I couldn’t care less that homosexuals can marry, but I do care that an activist judge can overrule the will of the majority.

    • Tim

      Except the will of the majority cannot oppress the minority. It’s the same reason for the abolition of slavery. Just because you are part of the majority does not give you get to have a dictatorship over the majority.

      Have you noticed when someone blames a decision on “activist judges” it just means they disagreed with the decision? It’s almost as if the term is just idiotspeak for “I’m not happy with how this judge who has greater training and incite than I do ruled on this case.”

    • Terry E. Christian

      Obviously you learned nothing in high school civics. Even if the people vote for a law, it can be struck down if it conflicts with the state or federal constitution. This is to prevent minority interests from being trampled by the will of the majority if that will is unjust.

    • Lynn D. Lisk

      Sorry Amy, not an activist judge, but one who is doing his job. We are a nation of laws, not mob rule. It is a judge’s job to interpret and apply the law, not enforce popular opinion or majority rule. Judges owe their allegiance to the law, not voters.

    • Carrie

      I think that some people feel that to acknowledge something is to grant it legitimacy and therefore if they refuse to acknowledge homosexual relationships they somehow rationalize that they are “stamping them out” in a way. This of course is as silly as refusal to believe in evolution despite that it is a scientifically proven fact about which no debate against exists in the scientific community. Newsflash, homosexual couples exist whether or not they are legally recognized. If homosexuality offends you wouldn’t it make more sense for a homophobic to want them to marry, that way they could pull up a list at the courthouse.

      • Fed

        Last I heard evolution was still a “theory”. It’s called “The Theory of Evolution”!!!! Maybe I’m not up to date on all the science, but a theory is just someones idea about something. There is no scientific proof for it.

      • Idiots these days...

        “In modern science, the term “theory” refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support (“verify”) or empirically contradict (“falsify”) it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word “theory” that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better defined by the word ‘hypothesis’). Scientific theories are distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.”

  • soonerfan

    I agree with Amy. If they get married keep it to their self. You don’t tell every time normal people get married. But how can 1 judge over rule the people? The people said NO.

    • Tim

      So are you saying they do have the right to marry, just not to flaunt it? If you think the majority should be allowed to terrorize the minority you’re going to dislike the end result of that real quick. What happens when 51% of the people think it should be illegal to be Christian? What about when 51% of the people think you should be executed for holding “incorrect” political beliefs? Would you still agree that because the majority of people want it it should be so? Somehow I doubt you would. Which is why we have a constitution, to protect us from a tyranny of the majority.

    • Sharon

      Seriously? They put wedding announcements in papers and on the net all the time! Get real! Everyone wants to announce to the world that they are getting married to the one they love!

    • Carrie

      So by that standard women when in the majority over men could pass laws saying men cannot have money or own property or inherit. This is why our U
      S Constitution contains a Bill of rights that guarantees an individuals personal civil liberties cannot be taken from them by the majority. Freedom to worship as you wish is one of these guaranteed rights. Another good one is the freedom of speech as long as it does not defame someone else. So why would anyone object to 2 people saying “I do”

  • Paul

    People are applauding that a minor judge is allowed to wield such powe. Keep giving this power to them and will return to bite you and hard

    • Tim

      You’re the one supporting government overreach into people’s lives dictating who they can be married to. This is a win for rolling back the size of government if anything.

      But keep complaining and someday you’ll look back and see you’re as ignorant as the people who tried to stop schools from integrating.

      • Rob

        So you say the government shouldn’t dictate who I can get married two. That’s great! I know 3 lovely ladies who would all love to be my wives. Can I count on your support?
        How about we get the government out of the marriage business. Let marriage be a matter of faith and conscience and handle issues such as shared income, shared taxes, and community property via civil contract.

  • Morgan

    A victory for freedom of religion and a victory for government staying out of personal lives. Wooooooot!

  • FlauntThis

    I want to marry my 16 year old neighbor. It’s our right to do so so that we can recognize our individuality and free ourselves from suppression.

    • Natsume Tsukino

      Umm, in some places you could marry your 16 year old neighbor if she and her parents consented .. you couldn’t “make the bed” with her, but this is all technicals

      • FlauntThis

        I don’t care about parental consent and shouldn’t need it. It’s our right to marry anytime, anyplace. Anyone against this is a bigot.

      • Sean

        “FlauntThis” has a point whether you agree or not, and where’s the line. Why can’t he/she marry a twelve yr old if they are in love?

        Anyone who disagrees is a bigot.

    • James Bass

      Yawn. You go ahead and marry a 16 year old. The rest of us will find partners whose relationships are made of love and happiness. Not spite and a sick fantasy.

      • Sean

        So James Bass you think a 16 ur old and 19 yr old can’t be in love? Sounds like you have bigotry in your blood and ageism as well.

  • Arkieboy

    I am so very shocked about how much hate is being spewed over this debate. There is no love or compassion for our fellow Americans…There seems to be only hate. If someone gets married to the person that they love, WHO CARES?!?!? It in no way affects your marriage, your divorce, or your marriage to your 4th wife/husband. I don’t see why there is even a debate on this, as it’s a non-issue. Let people be happy and get married. I personally don’t care who gets married, I have known of people who are on their 8th or 9th marriage. So if it is so sacred, why are the divorce rates so high? Nobody cares about your misguided insecurities. And please quit quoting the Bible. There is no sin greater than another. Everyone on God’s green earth sins, everyone does. Which is why Jesus died upon the cross, he died for our sins. Allowing gays and lesbians to marry is eventually going to happen. One way or another, it will happen. It’s really no different than many years ago when people full of hate didn’t want a black person to marry a white person. Did it affect your marriage because a black person and a white person got married? No, and today you see blacks and whites married, and people of every race. I know that my comments on here will in no way change a mind full of hate, but I sure hope that Jesus will change your heart

    • FlauntThis

      Put a cork in it kiddo. Just because someone is against something doesn’t make them a “bigot full of hate”. You’re overusing a term and in the wrong context while devaluing those who have seen true hatred towards them by others…like those who were hung from trees because of their skin color. That’s hatred, not being against someone’s choice of sexual preference.

      • Arkieboy

        FlauntThis, have you seen people beaten because of their sexual orientation? Have you seen in the news were people have been killed because of their sexual orientation. It is hate, pure and simple. I’m not devaluing anything when it comes to people of color. They know first hand also what it’s like to be hated. So, FlauntThis, to use your words, put a cork in it.

  • ps

    I’m so glad we have a seperation of church and state and judges who can stand up for whats right against popular opinion. The fact that two gays can get married changes nothing in all those peoples lives who area against it. You can still pray for your meals, read your bible at night, go to church on sundays, watch whatever shows you want to watch, listen to whatever music you want to,teach your kids your values. It changes nothing in your lives. Allow these people the same liberties and freedoms you have and want.

  • Jay

    I find it ironic that people want other people to not meddle in their lives yet they want to control other peoples lives and tell them who they can and can not marry. Don’t tell me I can’t carry a gun. It’s my constitunional right. Don’t tell me I can’t spought racial slurs and bigotry. It’s my constitunional right. Don’t tell me I can’t fly my confederate flag. It’s my constitunional right. Well the Arkansas State Supreme Court ruled it unconstitunional that two gays or lesbians can not marry one another.

  • Scholar

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. U.S. Const. art. VII, cl. 2.

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1.

  • Luisa

    People should be able to marry whoever they want, whenever they want. I am no one to tell them how to live their lives.. Eventually they will be able to marry as they please, but it’ll be sometime til that can officially happen. And lastly, the bible has been around for thousands of years, at the hands of man, which can be changed. WE do not know what GOD has said, WE don’t know how HE feels about this. Unless you have had a direct conversation with him, you can’t claim to know he feels that way about them. HE does not judge, therefore YOU should not assume He doesn’t like them.

  • soonerfan

    Tim I guess I didn’t say it right. No I don’t think it is right. But if they are allowed to do it don’t flaunt it. Don’t give them any more attention. Thanks for pointing out what I said. Because I am against it.

  • soonerfan

    Cassinoe I like the way you put it. I thought we all had the same God because there is only 1 God.and God said it is wrong.

  • ss

    So why would anyone want to live in Arkansas or get married there? It’s a joke of a state and about 20 years behind every other state.

  • Kevin

    If you are g*y why not move to somewhere like San Francisco. I mean seriously why live somewhere you are not accepted. I wouldn’t move to San Francisco and expect to be accepted.

  • Kevin

    Funny how liberals scream constitution for g*y rights but for gun rights oh no no no the constitution is outdated and inaccurate then.

  • Sarah 1

    Beam me up Scottie, there is no Intelligent life here.

    People SHOULD marry a person they love, after all, they will be living the person, not you who are against them and their choices.

    If you study history you will see many groups of people discrimnated against over the years. Today, please accept people for who they are?

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