Arkansas must recognize as lawful some 500 same-sex marriages that were performed during a six-day window in May 2014, a state judge ruled on Tuesday.
The marriages have been in legal limbo since the Arkansas Supreme Court halted gay marriages less than a week after they began in order to hear the state’s appeal. A lower court had ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the equal protection clauses of the Arkansas and U.S. Constitutions.
The state subsequently refused to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples who had wed and declined to enroll the spouses of gay and lesbian government employees in the state health insurance program.
“With shameless disrespect for fundamental fairness and equality, (the state) insists on treating the marriages of same-sex couples who received marriage licenses between May 9 and May 15 as ‘void as a matter of law,'” Judge Wendell Griffen of Little Rock wrote.
His ruling directed the state to accept the tax filings and spousal health coverage applications of gay and lesbian married couples.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, an opponent of same-sex marriage, said she would evaluate Griffen’s order before deciding whether to appeal.
“These marriages do not fall within the state’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman,” she said.
Tippi McCullough, president of the Arkansas Stonewall Democrats, a gay rights organization, said the group was “thrilled” by Griffen’s ruling.
Griffen was among several state judges who officiated at the weddings of gay and lesbian couples before the higher court stayed the lower court’s finding.
The state Supreme Court has yet to decide the matter. Some of its justices have complained that their colleagues are avoiding the issue in hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will relieve them of any political fallout with its expected ruling on the issue later this month.
A federal district judge in Arkansas also struck down the state’s prohibition on gay marriage, but the decision was stayed by an appellate court.
(Reporting by Steve Barnes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)
‘They’re terrified’: MSNBC contributor reveals GOPer’s are running scared of Trump despite bogus ‘heads on pikes’ outrage
Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy" Esquire editor-at-large Charles Pierce explained that he was in attendance when Republican lawmakers professed outrage at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) after he noted a CBS report that stated they are under threat from Donald Trump aides that he will see their heads on "pikes" if they cross him.
According to Pierce, they are, in fact, "terrified" that the president might one day turn on them.
Speaking with host Joy Reid, the popular Esquire columnist ridiculed the Republican senators for the position they have found themselves in by supporting the president.
Trump defense team’s two most ‘egregious constitutional claims’ blown up by law professor: They ‘have impeachment exactly backwards’
Trump defender Kingston shamed into silence by MSNBC’s Joy Reid after blizzard of lies on impeachment
MSNBC host Joy Reid showed no patience with former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) on Sunday morning as the advocate for the re-election of Donald Trump repeatedly was called out for lying about the facts of the Ukraine corruption case against Donald Trump as well as the House impeachment trial.
Sitting on a panel with the Intercept's Mehdi Hasan, Kingston was given the first crack at addressing the defense case put forth by Trump's lawyers on the Senate floor on Saturday, only to be pulled up short by the MSNBC host after stating a falsehood, for which he received an admonishment.
With Kingston claiming Democratic members of the Senate who are currently running for their party's presidential nomination did not attend the Saturday hearing, Reid quickly cut him off.