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
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)
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(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.

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