Gay marriage ban overturned in Arkansas

Ban ruled discriminatory, "dangerous for no rational reason," does not serve "any conceivable legitimate interest."

Matt Bradwell
Children play with a rainbow flag at a gathering before the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. UPI/Debbie Hill
Children play with a rainbow flag at a gathering before the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., May 10 (UPI) -- An Arkansas judge tossed out the state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage yesterday, ruling it as "an unconstitutional attempt" to persecute homosexuals for "no rational reason." Arkansas Amendment 83 defined marriage as between one man and one woman, a qualifier the court ruled "singled out same-sex couples for the purpose of disparate treatment" and did not serve "any conceivable legitimate state interest." "Same-sex couples are a morally disliked minority and the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is driven by animus rather than a rational basis," Pulaski County Circuit Judge Christopher Piazza said. "This violates the United States Constitution."

Our freedoms are often acquired slowly, but our country has evolved as a beacon of liberty in what is sometimes a dark world. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.

The issue of amendment 83 was brought before a judge when 21 same-sex couples in Arkansas sued the state, saying the ban violated their federal and state rights of equal protection and privacy.

Piazza did not issue a stay pending appeal, meaning same-sex couples in Arkansas are able to wed today. However Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has stated that he will request a stay while he goes through the motions of defending the anti-equality amendment in the Arkansas Supreme Court. McDaniel stated last week that he does not support efforts to legislate against the gay Americans, but a spokesperson for his office confirmed the Arkansas attorney general will fulfill his legal obligations and defend the state's constitution.

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