BY LEANN DILBECK –
Polk County is among a growing list of Arkansas counties who will not be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following a decision handed down late Friday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza that struck down the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriages, declaring the voter-approved ban as “unconstitutional.”
Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison released a statement Monday morning saying that her office would not be issuing any marriage licenses to same-sex couple based on the following:
- The timing of a Pulaski County Circuit Court ruling came late Friday in the middle of early voting for the May Primary that could possibly alter the issuance of marriage licenses in the State of Arkansas and has put Arkansas County Clerk’s in a cumbersome situation as they try to determine how best to both follow the law and serve all their citizens but to also manage their accessible infrastructure in doing so.
- It is our understanding that a motion for stay was filed and is pending before the Pulaski Circuit Court as well as the Arkansas Supreme Court and parties are awaiting a decision on a hearing to grant or deny the motion to stay.
- It is unclear if the Pulaski County Circuit Court’s decision on same sex marriage applies to Polk County, as Polk County was not sued in the case and it is questionable of the implications of this ruling on the other 69 counties that are non-parties. Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison, along with counsel will await ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court. County Clerks across the State have been consulting with their legal counsel and will devise their own plan of action.
Harrison added, “Given all of these facts, I will continue to uphold state law as I am sworn to do so, however, if and when the law changes, so will the practices of the Polk County Clerk’s Office.”