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New Court Filings in Arkansas Same Sex Marriage Case

Plaintiffs in the original lawsuit that led to the May 9 order make filings with the Arkansas Supreme Court seeking to keep it in place.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The legal back and forth continues in the same sex marriage ruling last week that has led to marriage licenses being issued and weddings performed for dozens of gay and lesbian couples in Arkansas.

Late this morning, the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit filed a motion asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to deny Monday's request for a stay of Piazza's order that was filed by a group of county clerks. The County Clerk Appellants' asked the court to separate White, Washington, Lonoke and Conway counties from the order.

The motion cites the appellants' contention that Piazza's order created a "lack of clarity as to the current state of the law" and says the stay "should be denied and dismissed because County Clerk Appellants have failed to allege facts or law establishing" their entitlement for the stay.

The motion states that "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."

The plaintiffs in the original lawsuit also filed a motion today seeking to stop the request for an emergency stay in the case that was filed Monday by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. The plaintiffs disagree with the state's claim that the May 9 Order be stayed "to avoid confusion and uncertainty about the effect of the Order on Arkansas marriage law." 

In his four-page motion, McDaniel cited the U.S Supreme Court granting stays in other same-sex marriage cases, saying, "The Supreme Court grants a stay if there is a "fair prospect that a majority of the Court will vote to reverse the judgement below. Thus as a matter of law, the Supreme Court has already indicated the likelihood that the Supreme Court will ultimately affirm state marriage laws such as Amendment 83 and Act 144 of 1997." 

McDaniel has also filed a motion for an emergency stay with Piazza late Friday. It's unclear whether the judge will make a decision on granting or denying the motion.

The Arkansas Supreme Court had asked both sides of the case to submit briefs by noon Tuesday stating their case on why the panel should or should not issue a stay in the case.

If a stay is ordered by the state's highest court, it would stop all counties in the state from issuing any more marriage licenses for same sex couples.

Experts we've spoken to say a stay in this case is highly likely. 

As of 11:30 Tuesday morning, only two counties in the state were still issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples: Pulaski and Washington. Two others, Saline and Marion stopped issuing the certificates effective today.

As of 10:40 this morning, more than 50 couples had applied for licenses in Pulaski County and another 27 in Washington County.

The Arkansas Supreme Court could issue a stay as early as today.

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