Court halts Arkansas same-sex marriages

Posted at 5:09 PM, May 16, 2014

By Kevin Conlon and Greg Botelho


(CNN) — Arkansas’ Supreme Court on Friday afternoon stopped any more same-sex marriages in the state, a court spokeswoman said, leaving the legal status of more than 400 gay and lesbian couples who got marriage licenses in limbo.

This development stems from 21 couples’ legal challenge of Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution, arguing that it violated their federal and state rights of equal protection and privacy.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled in their favor last Friday. But his decision was up in the air after the state Supreme Court said Wednesday it couldn’t decide whether to grant an emergency stay because Piazza’s decision was “not final.”

The county judge updated his order Thursday, adding that his decision allowing same-sex marriage takes effect immediately. Pulaski County, at least, was issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples by Thursday afternoon.

In all, Supreme Court spokeswoman Stephanie Harris told CNN, more than 400 same-sex couples got marriage licenses in the state. She said Friday that the legal status of any of these marriages is unclear.

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