Gay Marriage, Arkansas Supreme Court Ends Week On The Wrong Side of History
Please allow me reveal my recent surprised ignorance here. I was completely baffled to learn that anyone in the state of Arkansas had even remotely considered lifting the ban on same-sex marriages this week. I first heard about this story while making small talk just after a meeting at work. In fact, I didn’t even hear about this case until after the initial verdict because it didn’t garner any media attention until it became a fiasco in local political circles that there was supposedly a “rogue” circuit judge that actually had some political forethought and human decency.
Aghast! Such an outrage! In the American South? How dare he! …Barf. (At least, that’s what it sounded like when I heard the local story which then led me to check the local news outlets for more details.) Here’s the long and short of it.
Apparently for second time this week, the Arkansas Supreme Court has
overruled a Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza who struck down as unconstitutional all state laws banning same-sex marriage in Arkansas.
After repeated games of legalese back and forth, the state supreme court issued an emergency order on Friday to stop the issuance of licences to same-sex couples pending all state appeals. Just prior to the halt, over 450 gay couples received marriage licenses across various counties.
The state high court has had a ongoing legal contest with Judge Chris Piazza intensifying when the state supreme court suspended his May 9 judgement nullifying a state’s constitutional amendment which was initially ratified in 2004 as defining marriage only legally authorized to be between a man and a woman only. Citing a technicality, the state supreme court noted on Wednesday that Piazza’s judgment overlooked a law that barred county clerks from certifying marriage licenses to gay couples.
Subsequently, on Thursday, Piazza issued a clarifying order of his prior verdict which nullified the state’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional and further struck down all similar state laws barring same-sex marriage. After the Thursday update, county clerk offices resumed issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Judge Piazza’s Thursday clarifying order then sparked the state supreme court on Friday to allow Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to halt the verdict pending further appeal, which again stopped county clerk’s from certifying additional gay marriages.
Despite the spat in Arkansas, across the country same-sex marriage continues to gain ground as state bans are consistently held to be unconstitutional. Same-sex marriage is currently lawful in 17 other states in addition to the District of Columbia, with prohibitions recently struck down in Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Same-sex marriages were slated to have commenced on Friday in Idaho, but they were momentarily stopped Thursday by a federal appeals court to give the state additional time to appeal.
Oy! Again with the appeals. Does the citizenry ever get reimbursed for all the court costs involved in so many appeals that attempt to halt gay marriage? I’m not intending to be facetious. I’m just a realist. To be entirely forthright, I’m not even positively sold on the concept of marriage; however, for anyone willing to make a good faith effort at the institution I’m happy to wish them well regardless of their orientation.
Neo-cons who stall progress are only defending anti-intellectual absurdities that virtually always end up quickly becoming passé news fodder. Let me sum up their shoddy logic.