Judge: Arkansas must recognize in-state same-sex marriages

Same-sex couple Dianna Christy, left, and Markett Humphries leave a courtroom at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark., after a hearing Monday, June 8, 2015. A judge said he will rule this week on whether Arkansas should recognize more than 500 same-sex marriages performed in the state last year. AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Same-sex couple Dianna Christy, left, and Markett Humphries leave a courtroom at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark., after a hearing Monday, June 8, 2015. A judge said he will rule this week on whether Arkansas should recognize more than 500 same-sex marriages performed in the state last year. AP Photo/Danny Johnston

A judge ordered Arkansas officials on Tuesday to recognize more than 500 same-sex marriages performed in the state last year, a move that will let the couples enjoy a host of benefits such as filing taxes jointly and enrolling together in state health insurance plans.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen validated marriage licenses that were issued to same-sex couples after another judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban. The state Supreme Court halted the distribution of marriage licenses to gay couples after a week in May 2014 and is considering the appeal over a voter-approved same-sex marriage ban.

Some of the same-sex couples who married in Arkansas last year filed a lawsuit in February alleging that the state was violating their rights by not recognizing the unions. Griffen’s ruling means the couples can file taxes jointly, appear jointly on a child’s birth certificate, enroll together on state health insurance plans and even file for divorce.

Griffen was among a number of people who presided over same-sex marriage ceremonies in May 2014.

The ruling comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is nearing a decision on whether to legalize gay marriage nationwide. Judges across the country have ruled against bans similar to Arkansas’ since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law in June 2013. Gay marriage is now legal in more than half of U.S. states.

The Arkansas Supreme Court hasn’t indicated when it’ll rule on gay marriage. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down as unconstitutional a 2004 voter-approved same-sex marriage ban and an earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Justices suspended his decision a week later, halting the marriages.

Justices last month denied the state’s request for new oral arguments in the case, and also declined to lift their stay on Piazza’s decision.ArkansasGay marriageSame-sex marriageUS

Just Posted

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Most Read