Arkansas Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel backs gay marriage, but will appeal ruling

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 9, 2014 6:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – A judge today struck down Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage, saying the state has "no rational reason" for preventing gay couples from marrying. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled that the 2004 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution violates the rights of same-sex couples. "This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality," Piazza wrote. "The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent."

The ruling came nearly a week after state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced he personally supports gay marriage rights but that he will continue to defend the constitutional ban in court. McDaniel's office said he would appeal the ruling, which came about a half-hour after the the marriage license office in Pulaski County closed. An attorney for the group of same-sex couples challenging the prohibition said he hadn't spoken to them about their next move. "If I was them, I would be there waiting for the door to open," he said. Click for more on the story.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is interviewed after speaking to Arkansas Associated Press newspaper editors in Little Rock, Ark., Saturday, May3, 2014.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is interviewed after speaking to Arkansas Associated Press newspaper editors in Little Rock, Ark., Saturday, May3, 2014.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
  (Shutterstock)
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is interviewed after saying he supports allowing same-sex couples to wed but will continue defending the state's ban on gay marriages in court in Little Rock, Ark., Saturday, May 3, 2014.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is interviewed after saying he supports allowing same-sex couples to wed but will continue defending the state's ban on gay marriages in court in Little Rock,...   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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