The on-again, off-again story of same-sex couples getting marriage licenses in Arkansas came to another stop on Friday afternoon as the state supreme court blocked a state trial judge’s ruling to nullify all laws barring such marriages and refusing to recognize those married elsewhere.

After the judge’s earlier partial ruling a week ago, county clerks in some areas began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and that happened again Thursday after the judge expanded his ruling.  The number of licenses issued was rising rapidly, state officials said Friday.

The state court acted on delay requests from state officials (here) and from a group of counties in the state (here) and on a combined reply by the same-sex couples involved (here).  The order putting the issue on hold will continue in effect while the state’s highest court reviews the ruling by Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Christopher Charles Piazza.

State officials had told the state supreme court on Thursday evening that “circuit clerks across Arkansas are uncertain about whether they are required to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, pursuant to the Circuit Court’s order, or required to refrain from doing so, pursuant to Amendment 83 [the state constitutional ban on such marriages].”

The same-sex couples had countered that the state officials had no chance of ultimately getting the state judge’s decision overturned, so they had no legal right to have that decision postponed.

Posted in Featured, Same-Sex Marriage

Recommended Citation: Lyle Denniston, Arkansas: Same-sex marriages blocked again, SCOTUSblog (May. 16, 2014, 5:37 PM),