Arkansas Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down By State Judge

On Friday, a judge in Arkansas struck down the state’s gay marriage ban. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled that a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality, which Arkansas voters passed overwhelmingly in 2004, is itself unconstitutional. The decision will almost certainly be appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court by the state’s Democratic Attorney General, Dustin McDaniel, but for the time being, same-sex couples in Arkansas can get married

The news comes a week after McDaniel announced that he personally supports marriage equality; however, his personal feelings weren’t compelling enough to convince him to drop the state’s defense of the ban. As Bustle reported:

I want to tell you I do support marriage equality and I do believe Arkansans should have the right to be equal in the eyes of the law,” McDaniels announced. “It has become more and more difficult for me to accept the idea of anyone being treated as a second class citizen.”

However, he has apparently accepted that idea nonetheless, as he’ll continue defending the ban in court.

“I’m determined to live up to my obligation, and that includes with regard to our state’s definition or marriage,” McDaniels said. “I’m going to zealously defend our constitution.

In defending the ban, McDaniels argued that a component of the state’s constitution can’t itself be unconstitutional. Piazza didn’t buy it, and ruled instead that LGBT residents’ right to equal protection trumped McDaniels’ somewhat odd argument that nothing can ever be removed from the state constitution.