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Circuit judge strikes down Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban

By ArkansasOnline

This article was published May 9, 2014 at 5:08 p.m.

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Circuit Judge Chris Piazza presides at a hearing in the Pulaski County Court House in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, April 17, 2014. Advocates of ending Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage took their case before Piazza who said at the conclusion of the hearing that he would issue a ruling in about two weeks. Piazza on Friday, May 9, ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

In his ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Arkansas Circuit Judge Chris Piazza references the Loving vs. Virginia case that end...

A Pulaski County judge has struck down Arkansas' prohibitions on same-sex marriage.

In a ruling issued Friday, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said: "Arkansas's marriage laws discriminate against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause ...."

"Although marriage is not expressly identified as a fundamental right in the Constitution, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized it as such," his ruling states.

"... Therefore, the court hereby finds the Arkansas constitutional and legislative ban on same-sex marriage through Act 144 of 1997 and Amendment 83 is unconstitutional."

The decision came after a hearing last month in which the two sides presented final arguments in the suit, which was filed after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifted bans on federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

The state's gay marriage ban is based on both an amendment to the state constitution passed by popular vote in 2004 and statutory law dating back 17 years, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported in its coverage of that hearing.

Piazza noted at the April hearing that his decision would be appealed to the state Supreme Court regardless of which way he ruled, the newspaper reported. It added that Piazza said the issue likely won't be completely resolved until it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.

Comments on: Circuit judge strikes down Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban

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strick9 says... May 9, 2014 at 5:50 p.m.

The courts had to step in. We just can't have democracy breaking out in Arkansas. Before long people would get the idea that they could run their own government.

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3rdWorldState says... May 9, 2014 at 5:55 p.m.

Stupid constitution.

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RBBrittain says... May 9, 2014 at 5:57 p.m.

@strick9, the courts MUST step in when the majority TAKES AWAY the fundamental rights of certain people just because they're unpopular. Orval Faubus knew the majority of Arkansans favored segregation in 1957; that didn't make his demagoguery any less wrong. Likewise LGBT rights still aren't popular in THIS state *AND* are against most Arkansans' religious beliefs (including my own), but they MUST be upheld anyway.

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DEE672 says... May 9, 2014 at 6:02 p.m.

If civil rights were decided by a majority vote , blacks would still be slaves. It was wrong for this ban to be voted on in the first place. A wrong has been corrected. The Supreme Court already decided this last year in the DOMA case.

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nobody2 says... May 9, 2014 at 6:31 p.m.

Hey christians, what would you do if the muslims were in the majority?

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Dontcallmenames says... May 9, 2014 at 6:40 p.m.

Same-sex “marriage” opposes nature. Two individuals of the same sex, regardless of their race, wealth, stature, erudition or fame, will never be able to marry because of an insurmountable biological impossibility.

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T6 says... May 9, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

Hey nobody....You had better hope Muslims are NEVER the majority in the US. Do you think the LGBT community will be received any better than "christians" by them. Sharia Law, baby. Not good.

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Firefighter says... May 9, 2014 at 6:45 p.m.

Gentlemen, we have a problem..... We the people ....... Who?

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TheBatt says... May 9, 2014 at 6:46 p.m.

A constitutional amendment is unconstitutional? Interesting...

Piazza has long been a Liveral blow-hard. This ruling proves it yet again.

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JakeTidmore says... May 9, 2014 at 6:47 p.m.

Actually, Braddy, marriage is opposed to what you most often see in nature. But, let's be honest: the issue is about the US Constitution and the rights it purports to guarantee. In that case, Piazza is correct.

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