USA, Arkansas: More Gay Weddings; Many Counties Balk

Written by scott on May 12th, 2014
Arkansas

Green = Yes, Red = No

The first same sex marriage license has been issued in Pulaski County in Little Rock, Arkansas.

ABC News reports:

Couples lined up before dawn Monday outside Little Rock’s courthouse as the state’s largest county began issuing gay marriage licenses following a judge’s ruling overturning Arkansas’ constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The Pulaski County clerk’s office issued its first same-sex marriage license shortly after 8 a.m. After business hours closed Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled that Arkansas’ voter-approved ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Piazza did not issue a stay, and 15 same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses Saturday in the left-leaning tourist town of Eureka Springs. The first Little Rock license went to Shelly Butler, 51, and Susan Barr, 48, of Dallas, who have been together since they met at Southern Arkansas University in 1985.

Meanwhile, most Arkansas counties are not issuing licenses today.

The Arkansas Times reports:

Most counties in Arkansas will not be issuing licenses, relying on legal guidance that — if the counties were not defendants in the case (only six were) — and absent a direct order to cease discriminatory practices, the state ban remains in place in those counties. At least one county that IS a defendant — Lonoke — apparently has announced it will not issue licenses. Several counties hoped to raise an objection about lack of proper software as a delaying tactic in hopes a court will stay the order. But even the county attorney in Republican Benton County, while claiming exemption for that county because it isn’t a defendant, said claiming lack of software was a poor excuse. The counties could simply return to using paper and typewriters as they did in the pre-computer days. Perhaps a request for a contempt of court order would get Lonoke’s attention.

Some counties are saying they definitely won’t issue licenses, while some are saying they will. Joe.My.God has more:

Most counties in Arkansas will not be issuing licenses, relying on legal guidance that — if the counties were not defendants in the case (only six were) — and absent a direct order to cease discriminatory practices, the state ban remains in place in those counties. At least one county that IS a defendant — Lonoke — apparently has announced it will not issue licenses. Several counties hoped to raise an objection about lack of proper software as a delaying tactic in hopes a court will stay the order. But even the county attorney in Republican Benton County, while claiming exemption for that county because it isn’t a defendant, said claiming lack of software was a poor excuse. Pulaski County is home to the state capital of Little Rock. Arkansas readers: please send us your photos. UPDATE: Twitter peeps report that Washington County will also be issuing licenses today.

Faulkner County has also said no. LGBTQ Nation reports:

The court clerk for one Arkansas county says she will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the court opens Monday. The office of Faulkner County Clerk Melinda Reynolds released a statement Sunday evening to local media saying it will not be issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

The Attorney General has asked the judge for stay, but he declined to issue one before. The AG may need to appeal to the Supreme Court to get the weddings shut down – so we could have a day or two of weddings before this happens.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arkansas.

 

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