I can’t keep up with all of the natural marriage laws being ruled unconstitutional these days! Three states have had their marriage laws overturned in the last two weeks.
In 2004, Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment that recognized a man and woman as vital to the institution of marriage. Fast forward 10 years. On May 9, Judge Chris Piazza of the Pulaski County Circuit Court ruled that this amendment is unconstitutional. The Alabama state attorney general appealed to the Alabama State Supreme Court to put a stay on the decision, which was granted in a back-handed way only because Piazza’s decision did not invalidate a law prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage-licenses. But Piazza updated his ruling to try to address the issue, and refused to suspend his decision. As a result, some counties are continuing to issue marriage-licenses while others are not.
On Monday, May 19, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon’s natural marriage-only constitutional amendment, passed by 57% of the voters in 2004, is unconstitutional. A request was made to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put a stay on the decision, but the request was denied.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III federal judge declared Pennsylvania’s marriage laws unconstitutional. The decision was effective immediately, and same-sex couples began applying for marriage licenses the same day.
There are now 19 states, plus the District of Washington, that support same-sex marriage.