Arkansas same-sex couples seek respect for marriages performed in May

On Saturday, February 14, private attorneys filed a lawsuit in Arkansas state court seeking respect for two same-sex couples who married in Arkansas during a brief window of marriages between same-sex couples in the state. During this window of time, which lasted from May 9 to May 15, an estimated 600 same-sex couples were married in the state. 

On May 9, 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 On the event of the stay, respect for the hundreds of same-sex couples' marriages was revoked in this state, meaning that their marriages were no longer recognized in the state where they were performed.

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.

Cheryl Maples, attorney for this case, told the Washington Blade:

It is my position that these marriages are legal regardless of the outcome of any other court decision. I want the court to ‘declare’ that.

Read the full complaint here.

Learn more about litigation in Arkansas here.