Arkansas Supreme Court Puts Marriage Equality on Hold

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 17 2014 1:06 PM

Arkansas Supreme Court Puts Marriage Equality on Hold

480044185-roland-smith-puts-a-ring-on-the-finger-of-paul-mattson
Roland Smith (L) puts a ring on the finger of Paul Mattson (R) as the same-sex couple get married at the Oakland County Courthouse on March 22, 2014 in Pontiac, Michigan

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

A week of marriage equality in Arkansas came to an end late Friday, when the state Supreme Court ordered a halt to the same-sex nuptials. The decision by the state’s highest court suspended a judge’s decision that had declared the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional and gave way to a week of wedding fervor in the state. More than 540 same-sex couples received marriage licenses over the last week, according to the Associated Press. The high number is particularly surprising when you consider that 69 of the 75 county clerks refused to issue marriage licenses after the initial ruling had created doubts about the status of marriage equality in the state.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who supports marriage equality but has said he will defend the state’s laws, was the one who had called for an emergency stay “in order to avoid confusion and uncertainty.” Arkansas has now officially become the sixth state where a ruling that declared it was unconstitutional to forbid marriage equality has been put on hold during the appeal process, notes Bloomberg. So far, 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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