Arkansas Supreme Court rejects motion for stay in same-sex marriage ruling

The Arkansas State Supreme Court has denied a request to stay a lower court’s ruling that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel had asked for a stay that would have stopped the legal same-sex marriages taking place in the state. Currently, two counties in the state have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press.

McDaniel supports same-sex marriage but said he will defend the state’s law.

“County clerks have been uncertain about their responsibilities and couples unable to know definitively whether their marriage will remain valid,” said McDaniel’s spokesman Aaron Sadler in a statement. “A stay issued by either the Supreme Court or Judge Piazza would have brought some certainty. Unfortunately, today’s decision did not do that.“

Pulaski County Court Judge Chris Piazza ruled last week that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional while also not issuing a stay, as other judges making similar rulings in different states have done. According to the AP, approximately 450 same-sex couples have been granted marriage licenses so far.

The AP reports that most of the state’s counties refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after Piazza’s ruling because they were waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court.

In 2004, voters in Arkansas overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.

There are 17 states plus the District of Columbia that allow same-sex marriages. Judges have struck down bans in Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia. These cases are still pending.

Only two states do not have lawsuits challenging their same-sex marriage bans—Montana and North Dakota.