On Friday, May 9, 2014, the Pulaski County Circuit Court issued an order in Wright v. State of Arkansas, in which the Plaintiffs sought to invalidate Amendment 83 to the Constitution of Arkansas and a related statute which, in effect, prohibited same sex marriages in the State.
The order issued declared Amendment 83 and the related statute unconstitutional. This has been read by many to require all County Clerks in Arkansas to immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
The County Clerk of Benton County was not a party to the Pulaski County case.
The County Clerk of Benton County has been involved in a conference call concerning the case with many of the other County Clerks in the State and their counsel, and has consulted with George Spence, County Attorney for Benton County, who also participated in the call. After doing so, it has been determined that the County Clerk of Benton County will not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples pending being ordered to do so by a court.
This determination is not being made based on animus toward same sex couples. If the law requires it, the County Clerk will issue the licenses. However, until a court having jurisdiction over the County Clerk of Benton County makes a determination similar to that made by the Pulaski County Circuit Court, Amendment 83 remains binding in Benton County and will be respected.
County Clerk of Benton County, Arkansas