Kristin Seaton, of Jacksonville, Ark., holds up her marriage license as she leaves the Carroll County Courthouse in Eureka Springs, Ark., with her partner, Jennifer Rambo, May 10, 2014.
Photo by Sarah Bentham/AP

Judge strikes down Arkansas gay marriage ban

Updated

Updated 4:00 p.m.

An Arkansas judge struck down all the state’s laws barring gay marriage, in the third ruling of the case, according to the Associated Press.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled Thursday afternoon that the laws prohibiting same-sex couples from procuring marriage licenses were unconstitutional. Pulaski County, one of the only counties that issued licenses earlier this week, will begin issuing marriage licenses immediately. 

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court refused the state’s request to reinstate the state’s gay marriage ban after another judge found it unconstitutional, because, the justices wrote, other laws preventing their marriages were still on the books. Later, the lawyers for the same-sex couples at the heart of the suit asked Piazza to readdress his ruling, in hopes of getting him to overturn the law that’s currently preventing clerks from issuing licenses to couples. Piazza then struck down all the laws, according to the AP.

Last week, Piazza ruled that the gay marriage ban, which a strong majority of voters approved in 2004, was unconstitutional because the state’s definition of marriage violated same-sex couples’ rights. Most counties refused to grant the licenses then, saying the ruling was unclear and they’d wait for the Supreme Court to weigh in; by midweek, 450 couples had received them, according the Associated Press.

Arkansas becomes the latest state to lose their gay marriage ban; on Thursday, Idaho’s law was struck down. Seventeen other states have legalized gay marriage.

Meanwhile, gay couples hoping to marry in Idaho were given some bad news Thursday, when a federal appellate court put on hold an order overturning the state’s ban on same-sex nuptials. On Tuesday, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale struck down Idaho’s  voter-approved amendment limiting marriage rights to heterosexual couples, and then refused to stay her decision. Gay and lesbian couples were supposed to be able to obtain marriage licenses as of 9 a.m. on Friday morning, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a temporary stop to those weddings while it considers the state’s request for a longer stay pending an appeal.

Arkansas, Gay Rights, Marriage and Marriage Equality

Judge strikes down Arkansas gay marriage ban

Updated