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County Clerk will not issue same sex marriage licenses

Posted: May 11, 2014 - 5:02pm

Faulkner County Clerk Melinda Reynolds stated Sunday that she would not begin issuing mariage licenses for same sex couples following a ruling by Circuit Judge Chris Piazza that declared the ban on same sex marriages unconstitutional.

Faulkner County Attorney David Hogue released a statement from Reynolds that said that Piazza's ruling does not strike down state law and until the State Supreme Court rules in the matter, she will abstain from issuing licenses.

Piazza paved the way for the marriages Friday with a ruling that removed a 10-year-old barrier, saying a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2004 banning gay marriage was "an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality." Piazza's ruling also overturned a 1997 state law banning gay marriage.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced his intent to appeal to the high court late Saturday night, but not before 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in northwest Arkansas' Carroll County.

According to Reynolds' statement, "Piazza did not grant the Plaintiff's request for an injunction barring the Defendats from enforcement of Act 146 of 1997 ... as they requested. Even if he had, Reynolds was dismissed from the action before final arguments were made, denying her an opportunity to defend her position. As she was not a final party to the case, the judgment cannot be enforced against her."

Reynolds' statement also pointed out that the circuit court cannot establish or strike down statewide law, and she will not change her practice until the law changes, only after the state Supreme Court rules.

McDaniel has asked Piazza to suspend his ruling, but also formally said late Saturday he wants the state Supreme Court to take up the matter. That appeal has not yet been filed.

But because Piazza didn't issue a stay, Arkansas' 75 county clerks were left to decide for themselves whether to grant marriage licenses. That caused confusion among county clerks, Association of Arkansas Counties executive director Chris Villines said.

"The court didn't give us any time to get the kinks worked out," he said.

It isn't clear how many counties would issue same-sex marriage licenses Monday, Villines said Saturday after a conference call with clerks from around the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that a law forbidding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Using language similar to that from the Supreme Court, state and federal judges nationwide have struck down other same-sex marriage bans and ordered states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council, which promoted Arkansas' ban, said Piazza's decision to not suspend his ruling will create confusion if a stay is issued.

"Are these people married? Are they unmarried?" Cox said. "Judge Piazza did a tremendous disservice to the people of Arkansas by leaving this in limbo."

McDaniel last week became the first statewide elected official to announce he personally supports gay marriage rights, but would continue to defend the state's ban in court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Stinker
10
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Stinker 05/11/14 - 05:58 pm
8
6
Disappointing

Faulkner County - on the wrong side of history.

wampuscat13
29
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wampuscat13 05/11/14 - 06:01 pm
6
8
Faulkner County - I have so

Faulkner County - I have so much more respect for you. Definitely on the right side of history.

reader
18478
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reader 05/11/14 - 06:04 pm
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5
Melinda Reynolds

can fight against equality in marriage if she wants too, but the tide is against her as I will be in supporting any opponent to her in the next election. Sorry I voted for her when I was a resident of Faulkner County.

ifyoudontknownowyouknow
438
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ifyoudontknownowyouknow 05/11/14 - 06:25 pm
3
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Marriage

God defines marriage between one man and one woman. Homosexuality is a sin.

conwaygerl
5578
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conwaygerl 05/12/14 - 09:55 am
0
5
and

which of those examples are same-sex?

ARVoiceofLogic
5332
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ARVoiceofLogic 05/12/14 - 10:58 am
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Well we clearly don't legally permit Polygamy

But it's Biblical. Also we don't verify virginity prior to marriage either. That was Biblical as well. So the religious groups are picking and choosing which Biblical definition they are electing to support.

Also, the Bible isn't real big on divorce either, but you know...

The entire idea that you wish to pass laws based on a religion is the opposite of what this country stands for anyway. That doesn't matter to you obviously.

conwaygerl
5578
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conwaygerl 05/12/14 - 11:33 am
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5
it doesn't matter

to 76% of the population either. But that's not important.

Allowing same sex marriages is like letting a child ride a coin-operated toy car.
Look mommy, I'm driving.
You sure are, honey.

Where in the Bible does it say that if your neighbor gets a divorce, same sex marriage is allowed? Everyone wants to twist the Bible into somehow permitting this, it's not Biblical at all.

That doesn't mean it won't become legal. But that's a separate matter.

ARVoiceofLogic
5332
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ARVoiceofLogic 05/12/14 - 12:17 pm
5
0
Let me connect the dots for you

"Where in the Bible does it say that if your neighbor gets a divorce, same sex marriage is allowed?"

The point is, you aren't following biblical marriage blindly. You are choosing to persecute gay marriage because it's fits your bigotry. It's a convenient excuse to say "oh but God!".

"is like letting a child ride a coin-operated toy car."
-High horse much? Guess what? Today there are numerous same sex couples that are marriage legally in Arkansas. Their marriage is just as valid as yours. If not, explain why without using religion as your primary argument.

conwaygerl
5578
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conwaygerl 05/14/14 - 09:12 am
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here's why

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas_Constitutional_Amendment_3

Constitutional Amendment 3 of 2004, is an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. The referendum was approved by 75% of the voters.[1]

The text of the amendment states:
1.Marriage. Marriage consists only of the union of one man and one woman.
2.Marital status. Legal status for unmarried persons which is identical or substantially similar to marital status shall not be valid or recognized in Arkansas, except that the legislature may recognize a common law marriage from another state between a man and a woman.
3.Capacity, rights, obligations, privileges, and immunities. The legislature has the power to determine the capacity of persons to marry, subject to this amendment, and the legal rights, obligations, privileges, and immunities of marriage.[2]

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