Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Arkansas, Mississippi Same-Sex Marriage Bans Invalidated

Yesterday federal district courts in two more states-- Arkansas and Mississippi-- struck down state bans on same-sex marriage.  In each case, the ruling was stayed to permit an appeal.

In Austin v. Crane, (ED AR, Nov. 25, 2014), an Arkansas federal district court held that Arkansas' state constitutional and statutory restrictions on same-sex marriage "deny consenting adult same-sex couples their fundamental right to marry," and impose unconstitutional gender classifications. Issuance of an injunction was stayed to permit a timely appeal to the 8th Circuit. AP reports on developments.

In a separate case, last May an Arkansas state trial court struck down Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban (see prior posting), and that case is currently on appeal.  In yesterday's decision, the federal court rejected arguments that it should therefore abstain.

In Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, (SD MS, Nov. 25, 2014), a Mississippi federal district court held that:
Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban deprives same-sex couples and their children of equal dignity under the law. Gay and lesbian citizens cannot be subjected to such second-class citizenship. Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The court issued a preliminary injunction, but stayed it for 14 days to permit an appeal to the 5th Circuit. The Clarion-Ledger reports.