• Comment

Hogue: Marriage license denial 'not a religious/ideological stand'

Posted: May 12, 2014 - 4:02pm

Faulkner County Clerk Melinda Reynolds could have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday, but doing so could be problematic for reasons that don’t have anything to do with the religious or ideological questions that dominate the public discussion of the issue according to county officials.

County Attorney David Hogue said on Monday that the county’s decision to not begin issuing licenses immediately is not a religious or ideological “stand” on the issue by the county. Rather, he said, the county’s decision is rooted in the purely legal and contractual aspects of marriage.

On Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza held that a state constitutional amendment establishing a “man and woman” definition of marriage and a handful of state statutes to that effect are unconstitutional. For the counties in Piazza’s jurisdiction, which are Pulaski and Perry counties, as well as those counties that as of Friday were parties to the lawsuit, which are White, Lonoke, Conway, Saline and Washington counties, Piazza’s interpretation of the law is binding. 

Faulkner County was a party to the lawsuit because County Clerk Melinda Reynolds was named as a defendant by plaintiffs who wanted to marry here. However, the suit against Reynolds was dismissed on April 1, and so Piazza’s ruling is not binding on Faulkner County because it was not a party to the lawsuit at the time Piazza ruled.

At lease two Arkansas counties that didn’t have anything to do with the suit, Marion and Carroll countiese, were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex applicants on Monday. Faulkner County could do the same, Hogue said, but he said it was more prudent to wait for the appellate process to settle the law.

The state Attorney General’s office filed an appeal on Saturday to put the issue before the state Supreme Court for a final decision that will be binding on the entire state.

If Faulkner County issued marriage licenses now, Hogue said, and same-sex couples in the county who have waited to marry did so on Monday or in coming days before the state Supreme Court decided the issue, they would create a number of contractual and statutory obligations that exist between spouses that are different than those that exist between unmarried couples. These would include property, creditor/borrower and tax issues that would all be voidable or uncertain if the state Supreme Court were to overturn Piazza’s ruling and possibly invalidate their marriages. 

Though Faulkner County’s same-sex couples can’t get marriage licenses at the courthouse in this county, they can at the Perry, Saline, Pulaski and Washington county clerks’ offices — or they could on Monday. 

In Arkansas, there is no requirement for marriage license applicants to show proof of residency. Local applicants can get their license in one of the counties issuing them, have a formal or informal ceremony in this or any other county to satisfy the solemnization and witness requirements, and return the license to the county clerk’s office they got it from. 

  • Comment
Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Igor Rabinowitz
Igor Rabinowitz 05/12/14 - 07:05 pm
Well yeah

It's just easier for others to project their own fears, hence the need for this press release.

Teh Internets: Invented so large groups of people could come together and declare other people are doing it wrong.

reader 05/12/14 - 09:24 pm
A very clear interpretation

of the Faulkner County stance is appreciated. You can get your license in Pulaski County, come home to Conway and get married, then return their license with proper signatures, etc. to the issuing county.

So for now, LGBTQ marriages in Faulkner County can legally be performed, with a license from another county, then, as said, return it to the Pulaski County clerk for formal recognition.

Fair and clear enough. Its like liquor, but only for LGBTQ couples, they can only buy it in another county, but it doesn't matter where they drink it. MEH

odoketa 05/12/14 - 10:22 pm
I think Hogue made his position clear

Based on the reported conference call with Association of Arkansas Counties officials, it was pretty clear who was trying to find any way possible to avoid issuing licenses. Hogue seemed to favor some pretty lame excuses.

Is that position elected?

justoffcenter 05/13/14 - 05:01 am
Now do you see...

this is the same, except with more words, as Monday. All that other crap on a different thread was not needed.

Even reader can read this although he is still not happy. Had to travel a whole 20 miles and back, and back, and back. When I married my wife we had to get a blood test and physical exam. Glad that is gone but I didn't [filtered word] about it. I am sure Arkansas will let the BLT...Q wed state wide soon, just hold your water a little longer.

crypted quill
crypted quill 05/13/14 - 07:12 am
"Denial Is Not Just A River

"Denial Is Not Just A River In Egypt"

Denial is a river in Egypt.
Division is a reunion in the south.
Soon enough I'll learn to...
Denial is a river in Egypt
Allusive as the communion in my mouth.
Soon enough I'll learn to...
-- Trailer Park Jesus

Back to Top