Judge strikes down Arkansas' gay marriage ban

Sat. May 10, 2014 9:52 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Little Rock, AK - A judge on Friday struck down Arkansas' ban on gay marriage, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said the state has "no rational reason" for prohibiting gay couples from marriage.

Unlike some judges in other states, Piazza did not stay his ruling, meaning gay couples might be able to marry as early as Saturday. According to the AP, several clerks' offices will be open Saturday.

"This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality," Piazza wrote in his 13-page ruling. "The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent."

Piazza added that the ban "is driven by animus rather than a rational basis. This violates the United States Constitution."

A spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office said the ruling would be appealed. Last week, McDaniel, a Democrat, announced his personal support for allowing gay couples to marry but added that he will continue to defend the ban in court.

Piazza knocked down state arguments that the ban was needed to protect children.

"Even if it were rational for the state to speculate that children raised by opposite-sex couples are better off than children raised by same-sex couples, there is no rational relationship between the Arkansas same-sex marriage bans and this goal because Arkansas's marriage laws do not prevent same-sex couples from having children. The only effect the bans have on children is harming those children of same-sex couples who are denied the protection and stability of parents who are legally married."

He concluded by citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision knocking down interracial marriage bans.

"It has been over 40 years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice," Piazza wrote. "The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it."

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine