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Opinion, Reaction in Arkansas Gay Marriage Ruling

Saturday May 10, 2014

An Arkansas judge on Friday struck down the state's 10-year-old ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional. Listed are some quotes from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's 13-page order, plus reaction to his decision:


"Arkansas's marriage laws discriminate against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because they do not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest." - Piazza's order.


"The Plaintiffs' desire to publicly declare their vows of commitment and support to each other is a testament to the strength of marriage in society, not a sign that, by opening its doors to all individuals, it is in danger of collapse." - Piazza's order, quoting a Utah federal judge.


In rejecting the state's claim that opposite-sex marriage promotes procreation: "Procreation is not a prerequisite in Arkansas for a marriage license. Opposite-sex couples may choose not to have children or they may be infertile, and certainly we are beyond trying to protect the gene pool. A marriage license is a civil document and is not, nor can it be, based upon any particular faith. Same-sex couples are a morally disliked minority and the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is driven by animus rather than a rational basis. This violates the United States Constitution." - Piazza's order.


"Tradition alone cannot form a rational basis for a law. The fact that a particular discrimination has been 'traditional' is even more of a reason to be skeptical of its rationality." - Piazza's order.


"Something is terribly wrong when a judge can overturn a good law that was passed in a statewide election by 75% of the people. This is another example of a judge substituting his personal preference for the will of the people." - Statement from Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council, which led efforts to pass an anti-gay-marriage amendment in 2004.


"All across my home state, throughout the South, and around the country, LGBT people and their families are seeking basic respect and dignity. This victory is an essential step on the journey toward full equality for all." - Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

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