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Arkansas judge expands same-sex marriage ruling

[JURIST] A judge for Arkansas' Pulaski County Circuit Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that the state ban on court clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. In doing so, Judge Chris Piazza effectively expanded [Arkansas Times backgrounder] his May 10 decision [JURIST report] wherein he ruled that the state ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. An immediate appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of Arkansas, which upheld [JURIST report] Piazza's decision, but noted that because Piazza did not address marriage licenses in his May 10 decision, the laws banning same-sex marriage licenses were still in effect. Piazza filed his response to the Supreme Court of Arkansas nunc pro tunc, so that it will retroactively ratify all the same-sex marriage licenses issued before the technicality was clarified.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the legal community today. Earlier this week a judge for the US District Court for the District of Idaho [official website] struck down [JURIST report] Idaho's laws banning same-sex marriage. Also this week five same-sex couples filed a lawsuit challenging Alaska's same-sex marriage ban [JURIST report]. Last week Indiana was ordered to recognize [JURIST report] an out-of-state same-sex marriage pending an appeal. A challenge is expected to South Dakota's same-sex marriage ban, which would leave North Dakota and Montana as the only states [TIME report] whose same-sex marriage bans have not been challenged in court.

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