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story.lead_photo.caption 5/12/14 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STEPHEN B. THORNTON James Paulus, left, and his husband Christopher Shelton embrace through the tears as Judge Wendell Griffen fills out their marriage license after they were wed in the rotunda of the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark. Monday May 12, 2014. PLEASE OUT; APNewsNow-Little Rock market, TV-Little Rock market, Radio-Little Rock market, Online-Nationwide market, Arkansas Business, Arkansas Times. - Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

The Arkansas Supreme Court has declined to issue a stay on a circuit judge's ruling last week that found the state's ban on gay marriages unconstitutional, but its opinion indicates that ruling does not give circuit or county clerks the authority to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

In the opinion released early Wednesday evening, the court said the ruling did not address an Arkansas law that prohibits a marriage license being "issued to persons of the same sex."

"Therefore, the circuit court's order has no effect on ... its prohibition against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses," the opinion said.

In its ruling, the court also said "the circuit court has yet to rule on a pending motion for stay; therefore the petition is premature."

The court also granted the plaintiffs' request to dismiss the state's appeal because Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's order "fails to rule on the injunctive relief or the constitutionality" of the law that forbids circuit and county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Piazza ruled late Friday afternoon that Arkansas' prohibitions against same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. That opened the door for gay marriages to begin Saturday in Eureka Springs, where the Carroll County courthouse has normal Saturday hours, and Monday in several other counties, including Pulaski.

A number of Arkansas counties opted not to issue licenses to same-sex couples, and Caroll, Marion and Saline counties all reversed course and ceased issuing the licenses after initially granting them, citing a lack of clarity in the law.

Pulaski and Washington counties were still issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday. However, after the Supreme Court released its opinion, Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane said that his office would not be issuing licenses to same-sex couples on Thursday.

It wasn't immediately clear what the court's opinion meant for the same-sex couples who married after Piazza's ruling came down. Several hundred gay couples have been issued marriage licenses in Arkansas since the ruling.

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


Court declines stay of gay-marriage ruling


Some information for this article was contributed by the Associated Press.

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  • RBBrittain
    May 14, 2014 at 5:46 p.m.

    The denial of a stay, however, was for reasons that may have the same result as a stay. From the opinion: "Here, the circuit court did not issue a ruling with regard to Ark. Code Ann. § 9-11-208(b) (Repl. 2009), 'License not issued to persons of the same sex.' Therefore, the circuit court’s order has no effect on Ark. Code Ann. § 9-11-208(b) and its prohibition against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses." That omission was why Carroll, Marion & Saline Counties stopped issuing SSM licenses after they started, *and* why most counties never issued them at all. Expect the licenses to grind to a halt (even in Pulaski & Washington Counties) till Judge Piazza clarifies his ruling.

  • Dontcallmenames
    May 14, 2014 at 6:24 p.m.

    The legalization of same-sex “marriage” and its placement on equal footing with traditional marriage subverts and destroys the latter. When public authority and society in general deny true marriage’s uniqueness and irreplaceable contribution to the common good, and when individuals can find its legal incentives and rewards more easily in counterfeits, then true marriage is on the road to extinction.

  • yungs
    May 14, 2014 at 6:38 p.m.

    Piazza shouldn't have done anything if he wasn't prepared to rule. All he did was cause chaos and confusion for all involved. I think that the people of Arkansas have already spoken on what we want and marriage between a man and a woman is it!

  • DEE672
    May 14, 2014 at 7:38 p.m.

    Cheers for the court doing the right thing. It's likely the Idaho ruling yesterday had an effect on their decision; the AR supreme court doesn't see why it should put itself in front of a runaway train of change that is inevitable. This is the 12th state with its supreme court upholding the ruling lifting the ban on same sex marriage. The dominoes are falling more rapidly than anyone predicted, but everyone paying attention knew it was coming. Supreme Court Justice Scalia laid out the map the courts would take given the decision on the Defense of Marriage last year.

  • joymtnhawg
    May 14, 2014 at 7:53 p.m.

    Like the slogan from McDonalds....IM LOVING IT.....
    Nows the time to repent and change your ways! Our GOD still loves you, even tho you guys/gals could care less, and hate him.

    My wife's cousin ( which is a lesbian ) went out of state to marry her partner.....don't know why your group couldn't do the same!
    I leave you guys with this....our GOD will always prevail!

  • WolfEddie
    May 14, 2014 at 9:34 p.m.

    The state of Arkansas can spend millions of dollars to fight a losing battle.

  • djigoo
    May 14, 2014 at 10:16 p.m.

    Haha haha!

  • Populist
    May 15, 2014 at 6:07 a.m.


    Your vindictive nature is not indicative of Christ's message of love. I just don't think that you understand his message.


    We've had gay marriage in Maryland for a year or so now, and my marriage is better than ever. Other people getting married will have no effect on your individual marriage.

  • Testingonetwothree
    May 15, 2014 at 6:16 a.m.

    "ruling does not give circuit or county clerks the authority to issue same-sex marriage licenses" So all licenses issued
    should be considered NULL and VOID.

  • FnMo6
    May 15, 2014 at 7:28 a.m.

    I've yet to figure out why whom I sleep with and love is any one else's business but mine and my fiancée. Contrary to popular belief on this thread that refers to homosexuals as "other people", we are people too, and not very different from straight people. Pam, Beth, or Sherry's hetero wedding makes no difference to me...I could care less about who anyone else is with because it effects my life by 0%. People should concern themselves with their own marriages and relationships, because while their knee deep in someone else's, their's could be falling apart before their eyes. And as stated. . No sin is greater than another, so, stop throwing stones in your glass houses. -One proud lesion who WILL be married in less than a month, regardless to what the hypocrites say :)