LITTLE ROCK, AR, May 13, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – County clerks in Arkansas are refusing to issue marriage licenses and the state attorney general has vowed to appeal after a Pulaski County judge ruled the state’s 17-year-old ban on same-sex “marriage” unconstitutional.
In a 13-page ruling, Judge Christopher Piazza said Arkansas’ constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
“The difference between opposite-sex and same-sex families is within the privacy of their homes,” wrote Piazza.
While Piazza said he was “not unmindful of the criticism that judges should not be super legislators,” he argued that the issue was sufficiently important to overturn the will of the majority in the defense of the homosexual minority, and compared their plight to that of blacks affected by institutional racism during the last century.
“The issue at hand is the fundamental right to marry being denied to an unpopular minority,” Piazza wrote. “Our judiciary has failed such groups in the past.”
In the wake of Friday’s ruling, a handful of counties began issuing marriage permits to homosexual couples on Monday. But the majority of counties refused to do so.
"I have consulted with Daniel Shue, Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney, who has advised me with regard to the legalities of this very important matter,” said Sebastian County Clerk Sharon Brooks in a statement Monday morning. “The ruling from the Third Division Court of Pulaski County is not binding on my office, and I will await the decision of the Supreme Court of Arkansas."
“My office will continue to uphold the Constitution of the State of Arkansas as amended by Amendment 83,” Brooks added.
In Benton County, Clerk Tena O'Brien said much the same: “Benton County was not named in that suit, so I am following the Arkansas law, the Arkansas Constitution right now. It's not a personal decision, it's because I took an oath of office in support of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Arkansas. Until a decision is handed down for the whole state, or the decision of the circuit court (is issued) against me, I cannot issue a license."
Meanwhile, the window of opportunity for homosexuals seeking marriage licenses in the few counties issuing them is expected to be narrow. State Attorney General Dustin Daniel – along with clerks from four separate Arkansas counties – has asked for a stay of the ruling pending appeal, which was likely to be granted Tuesday afternoon. While Daniel, a Democrat, has said he personally supports same-sex “marriage,” he says that as attorney general, it is his responsibility to defend the state’s existing laws.
Former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was the sitting governor when the same-sex “marriage” ban was passed by voters in 1997, has called for Judge Piazza’s impeachment over the ruling.
Piazza “decided that he is singularly more powerful than the 135 elected legislators of the state, the elected Governor, and 75 percent of the voters of the state,” Huckabee said in a statement. “Apparently he mistook his black robe for a cape and declared himself to be ‘SUPER LAWMAKER!’”
Huckabee called on Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe to take immediate action to remove Piazza and reinstate the same-sex “marriage” ban.
“The Governor should call a special session of the legislature and impeach the judge and affirm the people's will,” Huckabee said. “If the people wish to allow same sex marriage, they can put that matter on the ballot and vote for it.”