In the latest on-and-off-again development, Arkansas' highest court on Friday suspended a judge's ruling that struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, which stopped the distribution of marriage licenses after hundreds had already been issued to same-sex couples.
The state Supreme Court granted a request to suspend Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's decision a week earlier that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel — who recently announced his personal support for same-sex marriage rights but said he would defend the 10-year-old law — filed paperwork Monday to keep the ban in place, as many county clerks decided that they wouldn't issue marriage licenses to same-sex pairs.
The courthouses that had started issuing licenses stopped Wednesday when the Supreme Court said Piazza's ruling was unclear and didn't overturn a separate law that barred county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
But Thursday, Piazza said a "clerical error" caused the confusion and ruled that same-sex marriage licenses were allowed to be issued once again. Two counties had resumed issuing licenses by Friday morning, and more than 450 couples had obtained them, The Associated Press reported.
Friday's decision stopped all counties from distributing licenses while Piazza's ruling is being appealed by McDaniel and four Arkansas counties.
Sarah Bentham / AP
Beth Moore and her partner, Abby Hill, exchange vows in a marriage ceremony performed Friday by Jeremy Hernandez, at the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville, Ark.
First published May 16 2014, 3:12 PM