MOMENTUM: Arkansas Judge affirms marriages of over 500 same-sex couples

Today, June 9, Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in favor of respecting the marriages of the over 500 same-sex couples who were married in the "window" of the freedom to marry in Arkansas in 2014.

The case in which Judge Griffen granted respect for these marriages was filed by private attorneys in Arkansas state on behalf of two same-sex couples who married in Arkansas on May 9, directly after a pro-marriage ruling. The plaintiffs, Angelia Frazier-Henson and Katherine Henson, and Markett Humphries and Dianna Cristy, were married on the first day of the freedom to marry in Arkansas in Pulaski County.

Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, applauded this ruling:

Today Judge Griffen joins more than 65 federal and state courts across America that have found that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry or equal respect for their marriages violates the U.S. Constitution. But too many other couples are still being denied the freedom to marry and full respect and equality under the law, in Arkansas and other states. It’s time for the Supreme Court to do what courts and the super-majority of Americans have done: affirm the freedom to marry for all, bringing an end to marriage discrimination throughout the land, leaving no family and no state out.

Same-sex couples were able to marry between May 9 to May 16 of 2014, after Judge Chris Piazza of Arkansas upheld same-sex couples' freedom to marry by striking down the state’s discriminatory constitutional amendment in this case filed in state court on behalf of more than 20 same-sex couples - some married, some unmarried - and one woman seeking recognition for her marriage for the purpose of divorce. 

The judge did not issue a stay in the ruling - and for the next week, same-sex couples could marry in the state until the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay in the decision. On the event of the stay, respect for the hundreds of same-sex couples' marriages was revoked in this state, meaning that their marriages were no longer recognized in the state where they were performed. As of this ruling, however, these couples will be entitled to the rights and responsibilities of marriage within the state.

Freedom to Marry congratulates the same-sex couples who married during this time on their marriages getting the respect they deserve, and urges the United States Supreme Court to ensure that all loving, committed couples are also afforded this right.

Read the full ruling here.