Judge opens door for gay couples in Arkansas

Published 4:15pm Saturday, May 10, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas judge has opened the door for gay couples in Arkansas to wed, ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage has “no rational reason” for preventing gay couples from marrying.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled Friday that Arkansas’ 2004 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution violates the rights of same-sex couples. He didn’t put his ruling on hold as some judges have done in other states, and it’s possible gay couples could begin seeking marriage licenses Saturday, if they can find a clerk willing to issue them.

In striking down the ban, Piazza wrote that it is “an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality.”

“The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent,” he said in his ruling.

State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office said he would appeal the ruling and asked Piazza to suspend it during that process.