County Clerk’s Office Uncertain About The Future Of Same-Sex Marriages

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The only two counties in Arkansas that were left issuing marriage licenses for gay couples have stopped, and those licenses may soon be revoked after a State Supreme Court ruling.

For three days, same-sex couples were able to go to the Washington and Pulaski County Courthouses and get a marriage license, but that all changed Thursday (May 15).

Inside the clerk’s office, it was a different scene from earlier this week. On the first day marriage licenses were issued, 84 couples received a license.

County Clerk Becky Lewallen said she doesn’t know if they will continue the marriage licenses for gay couples or if the licenses issued will be revoked.

"Right now we've suspended issuing the marriage licenses,” Lewallen said. “I'm going to be getting with our county attorney as well as the Association of Arkansas Counties talking with them and seeing how everybody is going to proceed from here."

On Friday Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza ruled the 2004 voter-approved ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

On Monday, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked the State Supreme Court to place a temporary stop to Piazza’s ruling while his office appealed it. Two days later, The Arkansas Supreme Court said it will not suspend Piazza’s ruling, but it did say the ban on same-sex marriage licenses remains in place.

University of Arkansas Fort Smith Law Professor, Lynn Lisk, told 5NEWS the State Supreme Court did this because Judge Piazza only addressed part of the gay marriage ban that defined a marriage between a man and woman.

"No one really considered or thought about that,” Professor Lisk. “ They thought well he's ruled it's unconstitutional so we can issue marriage licenses and no one paid attention to well the right to issue marriage licenses are a completely separate statute that he did not discuss in his opinion."

The Washington County Clerk’s Office has issued 138 marriage licenses for same sex couples.

1 Comment

  • Mark Smith

    What happened to all of yesterdays posts? Then again, I thought it was funny that 5News forgot to pay their domain name and for a couple hours yesterday godaddy was everyone’s landing page for 5news!

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