Arkansas' Gay Marriage Ban Is Back In Effect — At Least, For Now

In the week after Arkansas’s gay marriage ban was struck down, hundreds of same-sex couples in the state obtained marriage licenses. Alas, that door was shut once again on Friday as the Arkansas Supreme Court placed a stay on the previous ruling while the case makes its way through appeals. While the outcomes of similar cases around the country suggest the ban will ultimately get struck down for good, it’s still at least a temporary setback for LGBT couples — and really, everybody — in the state.

There was initially some confusion over Judge Mike Piazza’s initial ruling. While his decision struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, it didn’t strike down a separate law that bans county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. On Thursday, Piazza clarified that his ruling applied to that law as well, and clerks in three counties continued issuing marriage licenses.

However, Attorney General Justin McDaniel, a Democrat who claims to support gay marriage, and four counties in the state asked the state Supreme Court to stay Piazza’s ruling while the appeals process played out. The Supreme Court granted that request Friday without comment, meaning that gay marriage is, once again, against the law in Arkansas.

Given recent trends, though, the ban probably isn’t long for Arkansas. Within a week of Piazza’s ruling in Arkansas, a federal judge struck down Idaho’s gay marriage ban, making it the seventeenth state to offer marriage rights to all of its residents.