As expected, plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to Judge Chris Piazza’s overturning of the same-sex marriage ban in Arkansas, have told the state Supreme Court that they object to a stay of Piazza’s ruling. Now the Supreme Court will deliberate. There’s no indication when it might rule.
The plaintiffs’s attorneys — Cheryl Maples and Jack Wagoner — say the request is premature because a stay request is also pending before Piazza. It says the state, which wants to fight the ruling, also must demonstrate a likelihood of success on appeal and irreparable harm in the interim. The only irreparable harm would come from a stay, which could continue to deny same-sex couples their constitutional right to marry, the plaintiffs argue.
The harm is not speculative, but immediate and real,” they argued.
They dismiss, too, the “confusion” cited by the state and counties. Piazza’s ruling clearly requires clerks to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Any other statutes that would suggest clerks must issue licenses only to opposite-sex couples, even if not listed specifically by him, must fall to his core ruling. The plaintiffs who are legally married elsewhere already deal daily with the confusion of being denied rights other married couples are afforded.
If a stay is granted, such couples will once again be forced to navigate a complex, bewildering, and ever-shifting terrain of uncertainty as to whether they will be respected as a legally married couple by particular federal agencies, private employers, businesses, and particular state and local governmental actors.
other than references to a variety of lederal cases in which a stay was granted, the Defendants-Appellants provide no argument that they are likely to succeed on appeal, despite an unbroken wave of state and federal cases finding similar state laws to be blatantly unconstitutional.
Attorneys for White, Washington, Lonoke and Conway counties — all defendants in the case — also asked for a stay of the ruling. Wagoner filed a separate reply to their argument that there was a lack of “clarity” for clerks on account of other statutes not mentioned by Piazza.
The County Clerk Appellants’ reliance on the Circuit Court’s omission of an express declaration that Ark. Code Ann. 9-l l-208 is invalid also fails. The proper remedy to resolve any uncertainty as to the intended scope of the May 9 Order is to request that the Circuit Court clarify and correct the Order, not to seek a stay. In light ofthis readily available remedy, the County Clerk Appellants cannot show irreparable injury or any of the other requirements for granting a stay
The plaintiffs in the case also object to McDaniel’s notice of appeal of the ruling to the Supreme Court. His motion said the request is premature with some loose ends before Piazza, including any oversights in failing to deal with other state statutes that unconstituionally retain language referring to marriage as only being allowed between a man and woman.
UPDATE: Marion County also followed the legal advice coming out of the Arkansas Association of Counties and related organizations and stopped issuing marriage licenses today. It issued one yesterday. Saline also pulled back this morning. That leaves Washington and Pulaski counties still in the business of following Judge Piazza’s ruling that it is unconstitutional for Arkansas county clerks and the state to deny marriage to same-sex couples.
By mid-afternoon, another 62 couples had registered in Pulaski County, David Goins at Fox 16/KARK reported.