Arkansas Supreme Court denies stay on same-sex marriage

By Nancy Cook |

Published 05/14 2014 06:13PM

Updated 05/14 2014 06:19PM

Late this afternoon, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied an emergency stay in the Circuit Court’s May 9 decision that overturned Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban.In addition, the court granted a motion to dismiss an appeal by the plaintiffs in the suit, agreeing that the original appeal was premature in that the lower court had not ruled on the issue the appeal addressed.

When Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Christopher Piazza overruled Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage Friday, it set off a firestorm of motions asking Arkansas Supreme Court to grant a stay. If granted, the stay would effectively call to a halt all same-sex marriage licenses until appeals could make their way through the court systems.

After Piazza’s opinion was released late Friday afternoon, the Arkansas Attorney General’s office fired the first volley with a petition filed early Monday asking the Arkansas Supreme Court for an emergency stay. That petition was quickly followed by a second petition for a stay, this one filed by four of the six counties named defendants in the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs in the original suit were same-sex couples wishing to marry, or same-sex couples whose marriages were legal in other states but not recognized in Arkansas. They were given until noon Tuesday to respond, which they did – claiming the motions for the stay were without merit.

However, late Tuesday afternoon, the plaintiffs’ attorney filed a second motion asking the high court to dismiss their earlier response to the state and the counties, claiming it was premature.

That document claims the trial court’s decision was not a final one because it didn’t rule on the constitutionality of a law that forbids Arkansas County Clerks from issuing marriage licenses to persons of the same sex.  

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