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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
For more information email: info@clarkstonlegal.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Arkansas Next State to Nullify Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Citing the infamous Dred Scott decision and Loving v Virginia, a circuit court judge in Little Rock, Arkansas last Friday continued an unbroken procession of states to strike down state law bans on same-sex marriage.  Circuit Judge Christopher Charles Piazza's 13-page opinion in Wright v Arkansas held that the state law ban, arising from a voter-approved constitutional amendment back in 2004, was:
an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality.  The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent.
The same-sex marriage ban sailed through the 2004 state election with 75% of Arkansan voters approving the measure.

Perhaps because of this, in conjunction with his duties to uphold the laws of his state, Arkansas' Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed a motion on Monday with the Arkansas Supreme Court to stay Judge Piazza's decision.  As occurred here in Michigan in the DeBoer case, no sooner was the ink dry on Judge Piazza's opinion, when county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In squarely addressing this civil rights issue, Judge Piazza refused to follow a 2006 decision from the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals [the federal appellate circuit which includes the state of Arkansas] which upheld a Nebraska state law ban on same-sex marriage.  Judge Piazza held that the 8th Circuit's decision pre-dated the seminal SCOTUS decision in United States v Windsor.

Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage is also being challenged in federal court in the case of Jernigan v Crane; the federal judge in that case is currently considering AG McDaniel's motion for summary judgment.

So the same-sex civil rights saga continues across the nation.  We here at the Law Blogger will attempt to keep abreast of the multiple fast-paced developments.

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