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Same sex marriage (SSM) in Arkansas

2014-MAY-12: Part 5:
More reactions to Judge Piazza's
ruling on marriage equality.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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wedding ringsMore reactions to same-sex marriages in Arkansas:

  • Culture News is a conservative Christian information web site. They published a report on the Arkansas marriage situation titled: "Judges negate voters in Ark. & Indiana: Gay Agenda:" It says:

    "The avalanche of tyrannical judicial decisions set off by last year's Supreme Court decision continues to bury more states where citizens chose to codify the definition of marriage as between only one man and one woman.  Thus, the foundation of American government as being 'of the people, by the people, for the people,' as stated by President Abraham Lincoln, is rapidly crumbling.

    Suddenly, same-sex 'marriages' commenced moments ago in Arkansas, just hours after a COUNTY judge overruled citizens of the entire state saying their votes did not advance 'any conceivable legitimate state interest'." 6

    This brief report may sound surprising. But it is totally consistent with other articles by many religious and social conservatives about Arkansas' attainment of marriage equality. It implies that judges -- including Judge Christopher Piazza -- are radical and activist. They have no valid grounds for their decisions to implement marriage equality. They are merely forcing their personal opinion on the people of Arkansas in a form of tyranny. It also implies that in a situation where there is a conflict between:

    • The expressed will of the voters who approved an amendment to the state Constitution in 2004 to ban same-sex marriages, and

    • Sections of the same state constitution, and/or of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantee equal treatment of everyone -- and thus of all couples,

that the former -- the voters -- rule.

To give the popular vote precedence over the Constitution can result in the "tyranny of the majority" in which most voters use their animus toward an unpopular group to deny them elementary civil rights. This was true of African Americans for centuries during slavery and continued during the time of Jim Crow laws until the mid 50's.

Preventing such tyranny was a major concern of the founders of the United States back in the late 18th century. That is why the founders created the United States as a constitutional democracy -- where the constitution is the ultimate authority -- rather than as a pure democracy -- where the will of the people is the ultimate authority. More details.

In addition, Culture News refers to same-sex "marriages." Their use of quotation marks indicate that in their opinion, legal marriages by same-sex couples are actually sham or imitation marriages. 6

  • CitizenLink is a conservative Christian information web site affiliated with the leading fundamentalist group Focus on the Family. Their report on Judge Piazza's ruling of MAY-09 states:

    "Focus on the Family Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht said the judge’s decision has put the state in 'a quandary.'

    "This trial judge in a state court in Arkansas declared their marriage [Constitutional] amendment — that was passed in 2004 by 75 percent of the population — to be unconstitutional under both the state and federal constitutions,' Hausknecht explained.

    But tellingly, the judge did not put the decision on hold pending an appeal. That would have stopped the issuance of marriage licenses.

    'In the meantime, these county clerks are being overwhelmed by the requests for same-sex marriage licenses.'

    The question now: What will happen to all these marriage licenses once McDaniel appeals the decision?

    'It all depends,' Hausknecht said. 'We’ve already seen a couple of states where they treated it differently. There’s Utah, where they said, ‘We’re going to treat these as if they’re valid. And another state where they said, ‘We’re going to treat these as if they never happened.’ This creates a lot of confusion and guarantees another lawsuit of some kind." 1

    ABC News reported on Monday, MAY-12, that "... more than 200 gay couples have been issued marriage licenses." This was spread among the 5 county clerks' offices that were recognizing Judge Piazza's ruling. Even if all of these happened on Saturday, that would be 200 couples in one day spread over 5 offices. Assuming an 8 hour day, this would only be 5 couples per hour in a typical country clerk's office. One employee should be able to handle that work load without being "overwhelmed."

  • ABC News reported:

    Fifty-seven years after federal troops escorted nine black students into Little Rock's Central High School as a white mob jeered, Arkansas again finds itself in the center of a debate over civil rights. This time, the issue is gay marriage, but the 1957 desegregation crisis still casts a shadow. ..."

    "Gay rights supporters regularly invoke the 1957 desegregation battle, warning opponents that history may not look kindly on them. At the same time, those concerns may not resonate throughout Arkansas, where recent polling still shows heavy opposition to gay marriage.

    Nearly a week before the ban was struck down, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel cited the state's spotty civil rights history as he declared his support for marriage equality. While vowing to defend the ban in court, McDaniel became the first statewide elected official to endorse same-sex marriage." 2

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  • Comments by the public to the ABC News article:
    • "godsatheist" posted:

      "The AG, who supports gay marriage, should grow a pair and do the right thing and NOT appeal the ruling. It's time to put the Christian bigots in their place. That place is called the dark ages. Remember? When the Earth was flat and was the center of the universe."

    • "GoBucksMan" posted a quotation from the sayings of Thomas Jefferson:

      "Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society'."

    • Jamie Gallion-Ackley posted:

      "So happy for these couples! Hoping many more are to follow. Now let's keep the movement going! No rest until everyone in every state is free to marry [the person they love] regardless of gender!"

    • "anindoorkitty" posted:

      "I am so proud of my state! I hope it is allowed to continue."

    • "JustAnotherGenius" posted:

      "Though I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, I do believe they should have the right to get married. And I hope some day soon that it is legalized everywhere so that it's not front page news every time some court issues temporary licenses."

        • To which "Beclev" responded:

        "I'm glad you accept gay marriage. Now, if only you could think back to your first crush and ask yourself this: Who told you to be attracted to that person and gender? If you answer is, as I suspect, 'no one' try realizing that it is the same for gays." 2

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This topic continues on the next page

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Take Action: Judge strikes down Arkansas marriage amendment. Puts state in a 'Quandary'," Citizen Link, 2014-MAY-12, at: http://www.citizenlink.com/
  2. "History Shades Arkansas' Gay Marriage Debate," ABC News, 2014-MAY-12, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  3. Human Rights: Arkansas attitudes improving on gay equality; state leader speaks up," Arkansas Times, 2013-JUL-08, at: http://www.arktimes.com/
  4. "Full Results of The New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation Poll," The New York Times, 2014-APR-23, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  5. David Demirbilek, "Southern Poverty Law Center repeats 'hate group' claim about Family Research Council," Daily Caller, 2012-SEP-13, at: http://dailycaller.com/
  6. "Judges negate voters in Ark. & Indiana: Gay Agenda," Culture News, 2014-MAY-10, at: http://culturecampaign.blogspot.ca/

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2014-MAY-13
Latest update: 2014-MAY-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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