Same-Sex Marriage in Arkansas

An Arkansas judge has struck down part of the state's law on birth certificates, a move that an attorney says clears the way for married same-sex couples to both be listed as parents.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox late Tuesday afternoon declared parts of the state's birth certificate law unconstitutional since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.

File photo: Attorney Cheryl Maples.

A same-sex couple seeking to amend their child’s birth certificate to include the non-biological mother has been denied by the Arkansas Department of Health despite a judge’s order. Following Monday's request to change documentation the attorney general's office filed a request for a stay on Tuesday with a notification of intent to appeal.

Just hours after Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Fox’s decision on Monday Marissa Pavan went with her spouse and attorney Cheryl Maples to the state’s vital records office.

A former justice says in a recently published interview that the Arkansas Supreme Court voted to find the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional but never issued its ruling months before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide.

Justice Donald Corbin said the court voted 5-2 late last year to uphold a state judge's decision that the ban violated the Arkansas and U.S. constitutions.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling striking down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, finding that the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage didn't render the state case moot.

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Sarah Whites-Koditschek

A state representative who opposed a religious conscience bill says increased preferences for LGBT people may be added in the next legislative session if religious rights for clergy are clarified. 

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says it's unclear whether courts would require county justices of the peace to officiate same-sex weddings, even though clerks are required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

The Republican attorney general said in an advisory opinion issued Wednesday that JPs could use the state's new religious objections law as a defense if they refused to preside over a gay wedding ceremony. But she said it's unclear whether such a defense would prevail in court.

A member of the Arkansas Supreme Court says justices had voted on a narrow part of the appeal over gay marriage shortly before the nation's highest court legalized same-sex marriages.

Justice Rhonda Wood said Thursday that justices had voted in June on a state-specific portion of Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza's May 2014 decision striking down Arkansas' gay marriage ban. Wood said the vote focused on Piazza's ruling that voters can't approve an amendment that conflicts with other rights guaranteed in the constitution.

Eureka Springs

A new state law takes effect Wednesday that prohibits Arkansas cities and counties from enacting anti-discrimination measures that are not covered in state law. But a challenge is expected as Eureka Springs city leaders say they will continue enforcing a local ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Three same-sex couples have sued Arkansas health officials for not allowing both spouses to be named on their children's birth certificates.

The three lesbian couples sued the Department of Health on Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court and said they were told they would have to obtain a court order to name both parents on their children's birth certificates. The couples asked to have both parents listed on the birth certificates following last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Arkansas Same-Sex Marriage Licenses By The Numbers

Jul 2, 2015

Nearly a week after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that states must recognize and issue same-sex marriage licenses, most Arkansas county clerks are complying. KUAR conducted a brief survey of clerks offices on the number of same-sex or gender-neutral licenses issued in the state's 10 most populous counties.