Arkansas judge strikes down state ban on same sex marriage

A state judge in Arkansas declared his state’s ban on marriages between same-sex couples to be unconstitutional, the latest of several judges to have done so since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act last June.

Circuit Court Judge Christopher Piazza issued the decision — finding both a state statute and constitutional amendment to violate the U.S. Constitution — following a hearing in the case last month.

The ruling, posted to the court’s docket at 4:51 p.m. Friday, did not include a stay. As such, if no stay is granted by Monday morning, when clerks’ offices re-open, it is expected that — as happened in Utah and Michigan — same-sex couples will seek to marry at that time.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat who last week said he supports same-sex couples’ marriage rights but would continue defending the state’s ban on such marriages, will appeal the ruling.