Arkansas λ (4)

Ministers, Officiants & Notaries Public

A county circuit court judge in Arkansas ruled on Friday, May 9, 2014, that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and does not “advance any conceivable legitimate state interest necessary to support even a rational basis review.” Wright v. Arkansas was filed on behalf of 20 same-sex couples –some who sought to marry in Arkansas and some who sought to have their out-of-state marriages recognized there. Judge Chris Piazza noted that the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s law prohibiting private consensual sodomy one hear before the U.S. Supreme Court did so. And, he concluded, “It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the 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.”

Because Judge Chris Piazza did not put a stay on his May 9, 2014  decision, same-sex couples began applying Saturday morning for marriage licenses. The first was granted in Eureka Springs to a young lesbian couple. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported couples from as far away as Texas and Oklahoma drove to Eureka to get married. It estimated 100 people were lined up when the office opened at 9 Saturday morning. The state’s attorney general, although he has said he supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, has indicated he will defend the laws on appeal and ask for a stay.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, denied a petition from the state’s attorney general for an emergency stay of a county circuit judge’s May 9 ruling that two state laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The high court said that, for procedural reasons, the supreme court does not yet have jurisdiction. Responding to the attorney general’s argument that county clerks around the state are uncertain as to whether they should issues licenses or wait for the results of an appeal, the supreme court noted that Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling said nothing about a separate Arkansas law “and its prohibitions against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses.”

On May 16, 2014, the state Supreme Court effectively halted gay marriages in the state, Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza expanded his ruling striking down a constitutional ban to also include the prohibition on clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Justices had ruled Wednesday that Piazza’s decision on the gay marriage ban did not change that license law.

Piazza also rejected a request to suspend his ruling, saying there’s no evidence the state would be harmed by allowing gay marriages to continue.

Said Piazza: “A stay would operate to further damage Arkansas families and deprive them of equal access to the rights associated with marriage status in this state.”

The Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a stay of Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling striking down the state’s gay marriage ban.

This will again end the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Arkansas. It’s been an on-and-off process in a handful of counties since Saturday, with most of some 500 licenses issued in Pulaski County.

Piazza’s decision will now go through the appeal process. A record of the lower court case must be prepared. A briefing schedule must be set and probably oral arguments. The court takes a two-month recess each summer. Even with an expedited schedule, it’s uncertain if the case can be decided this calendar year, when two of the current justices — Cliff Hoofman and Donald Corbin — will be replaced by Rhonda Wood and the winner of a race between Judge Robin Wynne and Tim Cullen.

Arkansas’ Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is asking a federal judge to keep the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in place, arguing the ban is constitutional and serves a legitimate purpose.

Arkansas News Bureau reports:

In a brief filed Wednesday, July 30, 2014, McDaniel’s office argued, “The United States Supreme Court has recognized a bevy of legitimate state interests that are directly implicated and furthered by Amendment 83 and Act 144 of 1997.”

The attorney general’s office argued that those interests include preserving the referendum process; advancing procreation; promoting stable family environments in which children are raised by their biological parents; preserving social norms linked to the historical and deeply-rooted meaning of marriage; and taking a cautious approach to governmental social experimentation. 

In May, McDaniel announced his support for marriage equality but pledged to defend his state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

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OFFICIANTS

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Hitched Quick
(501) 743-7108 (Little Rock, AR) Simple, fun, blue jean weddings here in Arkansas is what Hitched Quick is all about.

Reverend Chip
(513) 884-2618 (Cincinnati, OH) "I consider it an honor and a privilege to be invited to participate in one of the most important days of your lives!" Located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Serving Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky & 28 other states.

Simply Elegant Ceremonies
(501) 472-0679 (Conway, AR) There are few events in life that are more highly anticipated and more joyous than a wedding! It is a special day to share with the family and friends that mean the most to us. Personalized Weddings in Central Arkansas .

Stephanie J Batterman, Notary Public
(207) 449-2497 (Bath, ME) Your Mid-Coast Maine Ceremony Your Way! All couples deserve a wedding ceremony that reflects their taste and their hope for committed and loving relationship. Let me help plan your ceremony.

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ARKANSAS STATE LAWS

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2010 Arkansas Code
Title 9 – Family Law
Subtitle 2 – Domestic Relations
Chapter 11 – Marriage
Subchapter 2 – License and Ceremony
§ 9-11-213 – Persons who may solemnize marriages.

9-11-213. Persons who may solemnize marriages.

(a) For the purpose of being registered and perpetuating the evidence thereof, marriage shall be solemnized only by the following persons:

(1) The Governor;

(2) Any former justice of the Supreme Court;

(3) Any judges of the courts of record within this state, including any former judge of a court of record who served at least four (4) years or more;

(4) Any justice of the peace, including any former justice of the peace who served at least two (2) terms since the passage of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 55;

(5) Any regularly ordained minister or priest of any religious sect or denomination;

(6) The mayor of any city or town;

(7) Any official appointed for that purpose by the quorum court of the county where the marriage is to be solemnized; or

(8) Any elected district court judge and any former municipal or district court judge who served at least four (4) years.

(b) (1) Marriages solemnized through the traditional rite of the Religious Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers, are recognized as valid to all intents and purposes the same as marriages otherwise contracted and solemnized in accordance with law.

(2) The functions, duties, and liabilities of a party solemnizing marriage, as set forth in the marriage laws of this state, in the case of marriages solemnized through the traditional marriage rite of the Religious Society of Friends shall be incumbent upon the clerk of the congregation or, in his or her absence, his or her duly designated alternate.

§ 9-11-214 – Recordation of credentials of clerical character.

9-11-214. Recordation of credentials of clerical character.

(a) No minister of the gospel or priest of any religious sect or denomination shall be authorized to solemnize the rites of matrimony in this state until the minister or priest has caused to be recorded his or her license or credentials of his or her clerical character in the office of the county clerk of some county in this state. The minister or priest must also have obtained from the clerk a certificate, under his or her hand and seal, that the credentials are duly recorded in his or her office.

(b) It shall be the duty of a minister of the gospel or priest to add to the certificate of marriage required by law a statement setting forth the county where and the time when his or her license or credentials were so recorded.

(c) Any minister of the gospel, priest of any religious sect or denomination, or any person purporting to be such, who shall solemnize the rites of matrimony contrary to the provisions of this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. On conviction he or she shall be fined in any sum not less than one hundred dollars ($100).

(d) (1) It shall be the duty of the clerk and recorder in each county, seasonably to record, in a well-bound book to be kept for that purpose, all licenses or credentials of clerical character of the persons who deposit the licenses or credentials of clerical character with him or her for record.

(2) Any clerk failing to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall, on motion of the party aggrieved, giving the clerk ten (10) days’ notice in writing of the motion, be fined any sum not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100).

§ 9-11-215 – Marriage ceremony.

9-11-215. Marriage ceremony.

(a) When marriages are solemnized by a minister of the gospel or priest, the ceremony shall be according to the forms and customs of the church or society to which he or she belongs. When solemnized by a civil officer, the form observed shall be the one the officer deems most appropriate.

(b) It shall be lawful for religious societies who reject formal ceremonies to join together in marriage persons who are members of the society according to the forms, customs, or rites of the society to which they belong, with the exception that the requirements set forth in the Covenant Marriage Act of 2001, 9-11-801 et seq., shall be complied with if the parties enter into a covenant marriage.

§ 9-11-216 – Solemnization contrary to law — Penalty.

9-11-216. Solemnization contrary to law — Penalty.

(a) Any person who presumes to solemnize marriage in this state contrary to the provisions of this act shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(b) The fine imposed by subsection (a) of this section shall be paid when collected into the general fund of the county in which the offense was committed.

§ 9-11-217 – Failure to sign and return license at time of marriage — Penalty.

9-11-217. Failure to sign and return license at time of marriage — Penalty.

(a) Any person who fails to officially sign and return any license to the parties at the time of the marriage shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).

(b) The fine imposed by subsection (a) of this section shall be paid when collected into the general fund of the county in which the offense was committed.

§ 9-11-218 – Return of executed license to clerk — Effect on bond.

9-11-218. Return of executed license to clerk — Effect on bond.

(a) Any person obtaining a license under the provisions of this act shall be required to return the license to the office of the clerk of the county court within sixty (60) days from the date of the license.

(b) (1) If the license is duly executed and officially signed by some person authorized by law to solemnize marriage in this state, the bond required by 9-11-210 shall be deemed null and void.

§ 9-11-219 – False return or record — Penalty.

9-11-219. False return or record — Penalty.

If any person authorized to solemnize any marriage in this state shall willfully make a false return of any marriage or pretended marriage to the clerk and recorder, or if the clerk and recorder shall willfully make a false record of any return of a marriage license made to him or her, the offender shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be fined in any sum not less than one hundred dollars ($100).