Arkansas judge strikes down gay marriage ban

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  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 14, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    "It's totally illegal to not hire a LGBT person because of their beliefs."

    In Utah it's completely legal.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    May 12, 2014 6:16 p.m.

    The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. Ones right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of NO elections.

    In Loving v. Virginia (1967) a main argument was that race had EVERYTHING to do with the 'supposed purpose' of marriage. Mixed-race children would suffer from poor social treatment and polygamous or incest marriages would be next. Those arguments along with the relevance of immutable characteristics, were not enough to save the interracial marriage ban. Today, It's hard to see how non-existant children "who can't even be born from same-sex couples" would suffer any worse of a negative outcome.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 12, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    What doomsday are we heading for? I would love to know exactly what is going to happen when SSM becomes legal in America and it will. I want details. Is god going to rain down fire? Are you going to go with the slippery slope that soon men will marry dogs (because as we all know dogs will have to be granted the status of consenting adult)? Just exactly what is going to happen? I keep hearing that doomsday is coming, that SSM will literally mean the end of America and the end of marriage. SSM has been legal in some countries for over a decade and guess what - no fire from heaven, no dogs and cats living together, no mass hysteria.

    As I've posted elsewhere I'll make a prediction here. SSM will become legal soon and what is going to happen? Nothing. We will all go on with our lives just fine.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 12, 2014 4:50 p.m.


    Oh I totally see now. All I really had to do was compare them to conservatives who are always the model of restraint. I never see Fox News pundits blowing things out of proportion or becoming unglued over the tiniest thing. I never see men armed with automatic rifles descending en masse over some drummed up outrage. I never see conservatives freaking out year after year over a supposed war on Christmas even as Christmas grows and grows - swallowing other holidays. No one on the conservative side ever calls for boycotts or puts pressure on companies who don't agree with their issues.

    Seriously people. What bothers me isn't that you see liberals freak out (which they do) but that you think it's all one sided. The right practically invented the modern persecution complex freak out display. Then they marketed it, packaged it, and sold it. Both sides are equally guilty. And don't pull the whole - well they ask for tolerance bit because I hear just as many people on the right asking for tolerance of their beliefs too. This a two way highway and there is a bunch of traffic on both sides.

  • Loconic Alpine, UT
    May 12, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    @ Red Corvette:

    You stated, "The Caravan not only keeps rolling along, it also is picking up speed!"

    The problem here is that the caravan doesn't notice the sharp turn and big cliff not far down the road. It's gathering speed spells an eventual doomsday.

    @ Wilf 55:

    You claim we're getting closer to equality for all. If that's the case, then please explain to me why traditional marriage advocates no longer go around crusading for or causing job denials to LGBT people, but SSM advocates do everything in their power to not allow those same people the same courtesy. That is not equality.

    It's totally illegal to not hire a LGBT person because of their beliefs. But now it's become perfectly okay to cause a traditionalist to not get hired because of his or her beliefs.

    That is NOT equality in any sense of the word.

  • Copacetic Logan, UT
    May 12, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    @ Wraith:

    You obviously still don't get it. I totally agree with Laconic. LIberal activists come totally unglued if anyone protests or even says against them or their cause. But then they turn around and claim every right in the world for they themselves to protest as vehemently as possible against whomever they claim doesn't bow down to their cause.

    In essence, they claim a "live and let live" motto, but their actions in no way adhere to it. That's the root and epitomy of hypocrisy.

  • Evidence Not Junk Science Iron, UT
    May 12, 2014 3:14 p.m.

    Minority rights should be dependent on the outcome of an election for the best solution. Take the case of 3 starving wolves and a delicious succulent lamb voting though the political process on what to eat for lunch. Minorities should recognize they are created to serve the whims or appetites of the majority. This is our our democracy works best.

    The actual point of Constitutional law is that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the minority from the majority. That's how our checks & balances system of government works. Historically, if the vote of the people had been able to stand as the law of the land, women would have not been able to vote, interracial marriages would still be prohibited, and our schools would still be segregated. it is an education in itself to read any of the rulings released by federal judges who have ruled on this issue. Essentially, your disapproval is not sufficient grounds for establishing a law of discrimination.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 12, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    For Laconic and others

    The opinion you have of how the Judicial Branch operates is curious to me. While it's true that there elections in these states to enact the laws against SSM many viewed them as Unconstitutional and filed suit. The judges then reviewed the legal issues, agreed that they were Unconstitutional and ruled accordingly. This is in harmony with our Constitution and how our Republic has operated for over 200 years. This is the exact same process that ended Jim Crow segregation in the 50's. So this process is exactly what our Republic stands for. You can disagree with the ruling but this is the same process that's been followed since 1803.

    I'm also curious about what you want the "zealots" to do when they want to speak out against someone for beliefs they find offensive. Does this liberal minority not get the right to speak out and protest? I understand that you don't like it when people's careers are hurt but the minority still has the right to protest. I don't see how it's hypocritical when all they are doing is exercising their rights. What would you have them do?

  • Jeremy234 SLC, UT
    May 12, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd say this, but go Arkansas!

  • Loconic Alpine, UT
    May 12, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Liberals are so narrowly focused in their zeal for their agenda of literally forcing others to go against their own desires. The voters spoke overwhelmingly during the state-wide elections. And now a single judge once again overturns an entire state's desire. So much for what a real democracy stands for. The desires of the majority go unheeded because of the zeal of this liberal minority. Another great example of the tail wagging the dog.

    To make matters even worse, these same zealots will not tolerate anyone whatsoever who feels, or who ever felt differently than they do. They actively intimidate and ruin career opportunities for anyone who ever supported any cause different than their own. This liberal minority is the epitome of intolerance in this entire fiasco. They spent years seeking tolerance and acceptance from others but have offered absolutely none in return. The SSM activists are complete and utter hypocrites.

  • Coasting H Provo, UT
    May 12, 2014 5:00 a.m.

    People tend to believe that we can do whatever we want, and now our youth are in crisis because adults want to take illegal and immoral actions to make them legal causing our youth to be confused and chaotic. There is never any good that comes from takeing something illegal and immoral and making it legal. Illegal activity is still illegal activity. Immorality is still immorality. Teach our youth the right standards, and maybe they might become stronger, more grounded. People may want to argue this, but right is right and wrong is wrong.

  • Vince here San Diego, CA
    May 10, 2014 8:05 p.m.

    Thank you to the voices of equality!

  • fact based Salt Lake, UT
    May 10, 2014 6:06 p.m.

    Slippery slope logical fallacy:

    If we allow A to happen, then Z will eventually happen too, therefore A should not happen.
    The problem with this reasoning is that it avoids engaging with the issue at hand, and instead shifts attention to extreme hypotheticals. Because no proof is presented to show that such extreme hypotheticals will in fact occur, this fallacy has the form of an appeal to emotion fallacy by leveraging fear. In effect the argument at hand is unfairly tainted by unsubstantiated conjecture.

    The parade of horribles: If we allow same-sex couples to marry, then the next thing we know we'll be allowing people to marry their parents, their cars, kitchen tables and even monkeys. Even if this does not happen, the sky will surely fall, or there will be earthquakes, floods and famine. Russia could even invade the EU.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    May 10, 2014 4:02 p.m.

    It's a pity, and a disservice to their readers, that Deseret News doesn't see fit to provide a link to the text of these decisions. Other sources do.

    Judge Piazza's written decision explains very well what the legal issues are, and why that state failed in its attempt to defend their same-sex marriage ban law.

    It might be instructive to readers of this paper who still hold out hope that Utah will somehow prevail in its defense of Amendment 3. Both states' rationale in defense of a ban are remarkably similar. Worse even, for Utah's chances, the court that struck down Arkansas' ban wasn't even a federal court. Even state judges, even state judges in the Deep South, are starting to see the insubstantial and illogical nature of the "traditional" legal argument.

    The body of established law, as Judge Piazza illustrates with his citations, is becoming quite heavily weighted towards treating homosexuals as the legal equals of heterosexuals, with corresponding rights to marry. He bases his reasoning in High Court decisions which clarified the rights of privacy, personal choice, due process, and equal treatment.

  • fact based Salt Lake, UT
    May 10, 2014 3:45 p.m.

    Many undoubtedly voted for Amendment 3 because of sincerely held religious beliefs that homosexuality is wrong or that gay marriage conflicts with doctrinal teachings. For them, the ban ensured that their “strongly held values” are “reflected in the law.” However, those beliefs cannot justify State-sponsored discrimination. “The same Constitution that protects the free exercise of one’s faith is the same Constitution that prevents the state from either mandating adherence to an established religion or ‘enforcing private moral or religious beliefs without an accompanying secular purpose. Some people also have “sincerely held religious beliefs” against interracial dating and interracial marriage. The Constitution prevents the State from enforcing such beliefs and simply recognizes that such views cannot deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected fundamental rights.

  • fact based Salt Lake, UT
    May 10, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    Slippery-slope arguments decrying that if States cannot ban same-sex marriage, they will have to allow plural marriage, marriage between siblings, and marriage to young children. Virginia’s counsel raised the same specter in Loving, arguing that Virginia’s “prohibition of interracial marriage” stood “on the same footing as the prohibition of polygamous marriage, or incestuous marriage or the prescription of minimum ages at which people may marry and the prevention of the marriage of people who are mentally incompetent.” These tactics are NO more persuasive in 2014 than they were in 1967. Even assuming someone could rationally explain how permitting an interracial or same- sex couple to marry will force the State to permit three or more people to marry, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of laws barring polygamy in Reynolds v. United States. Reynolds being on the books for 135 years establishes weighty stare decisis considerations.

  • Aephelps14 San Luis Obispo, CA
    May 10, 2014 3:06 p.m.

    The slippery slope argument just isn't holding any water for me lately. If someone decides they are in love with their sibling and wants to get married to them, we will deal with that issue as it arises. Same-sex marriage and incest are separate issues because there are different reasons for them being banned in the past. Hence, those reasons need to be examined when the time comes to determine if they are still valid. Just because people have thought about and examined the repercussions of same-sex marriage and found it ok, doesn't mean that process has automatically been done for other forms of marriage.

  • fact based Salt Lake, UT
    May 10, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    @ Rocket Science "Laws, definitions and traditions have stood since the founding of the nation and now many act as if their rights have been taken away. There were no rights for SSM until recent judges read it into law that judges not seen to do for over 200 years."

    Ancient lineage of a legal concept does not give it immunity from attack for lacking a rational basis. The fact that a
    particular discrimination has been "traditional" is even more of a reason to be skeptical of its rationality. Any Court must be especially vigilant in evaluating the rationality of any classification involving a group that has been subjected to a tradition of disfavor for a traditional classification is more likely to be used without pausing to consider its justification than is a newly created classification.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    May 10, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    @ Tekakaromatagi "Marriage is about having a stable relationship for the children who may be conceived, or who might have been conceived in the case of an elderly couple. Marriage is a liberal value because it fights out of wedlock births."

    In addition to the marital benefits you well described, even when they use assisted reproduction or adopt.. So to marriage provides a stable relationship for the parents and children in same-sex relationships, adopted or no matter how they are conceived. - What is your point? Certainly you don't want to harm same-sex couples and their children.

    @ElChango "One can't possibly argue that siblings have all the protections that a marriage offers!"


    Do siblings have what is considered to be an immutable characteristic to marry each other (innate and and fundamental to their identity and person-hood, like ones' sexual orientation, gender or race)? It is un-reasonable for the government to require changing ones gender or sexual orientation to civil marry. Where different reasonable choices can be made, the government does not recognize EVERY type of relationship a person may seek to enter. Therefore, NO pension, social security and spousal health care for two adult bothers.

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    May 10, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    . . . and the first wedding, post decision, has taken place:

    via twitter -- "Meet the 1st #gay couple married in #Arkansas! (Kristin and Jennifer) Their witness was Cheryl Maples, lawyer whose case brought down ban."

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 10, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    @Tekakaromatagi: "I love my sister. Why doesn't the law allow me to celebrate that love with a marriage?"

    You meet a woman. You begin dating. You have a social relationship, not a legal relationship.

    You continue to date and become intimate. Social relationship, not legal.

    You move in together. Social, not legal.

    You marry. Now you have a legal relationship recognized by civil law.

    You are married for decades but are no longer intimate. You still have a legal relationship.

    You break up, move to to opposite sides of the city. You still have a legal relationship, though may not have a social connection.

    You divorce, legal relationship broken.

    You were born. A few year later your sister was born. The day she is born the two of you have a legal relationship.

    That is why you cannot marry your sister, you already have a legal relationship.

    OSM establishes a legal relationship between two legal strangers.

    SSM establishes a legal relationship between two legal strangers.

    Both have a social relationship (couple), marriage establishes a legal relationship that confers over 1000 legal rights, benefits and responsibilities.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 10, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Unless Attorney General McDaniel has an actual reason for appealing--e.g. he has evidence that the judge was bought off, the judge kept him from introducing critical evidence, the judge cited "evidence" that was clearly false --he has no basis for an appeal. Being miffed because you lost a case is not a valid basis. Arkansas citizens voted for an unconstitutional law; it was overturned. Why is he wasting resources on trying to revive a dead (and discriminatory) horse? Unfortunately, we all know the answer.

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    May 10, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    Two things:

    1.) At this point, it would be more newsworthy if a state or federal court did --NOT-- find in favor of Marriage Equality for same-sex couples. (Notice how far beneath the virtual fold DN placed this news item).

    2.) Judging from several of the above reader comments, may I suggest DN do an informative piece on the "slippery-slope fallacy" and "slippery-slope" arguments, in general. The article could define them, provide some examples and history and then finish by covering the effectiveness of such arguments/reasoning in front of judges.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    May 10, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    To El Chango and Tekakaromatagi: If you are serious about wanting to marry your siblings, you have the right to sue the state to permit you to do so. But it's well documented that laws against incest have a rational basis (unlike the laws against SSM), so be prepared to come up with an argument to counter these.

    The "slippery slope" argument has been made in thousands of cases (regarding SSM and a host of other topics, from tax rates to gun control), and it has rarely been seen to have had merit. Some states have had gay marriage for a decade and there have been no cases of siblings, dead people, or pet ducks filing suit to permit them to marry.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    May 10, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    @Serious 8:55 p.m. May 9, 2014
    Perhaps law schools around the country should begin including a course in human biology in the curriculum. Then, perhaps, these judges could see the rational reason a gay marriage makes absolutely no sense.


    Perhaps you should realize that biology is a subject for medical school, and has nothing to do with the law. I assume you are talking about the ability to procreate being a requirement for marriage. You should realize that procreation is not a requirement for a valid marriage and marriage is not a requirement allowing or banning procreation. They are two separate issues.

    The real issue in the LOVING case had nothing to do with the genders of the couple, and everything to do with their race, specifically the fact that the voters of Virginia decided that inter-racial marriage was immoral and a sin and an affront to God, and they tried to codify that prejudice. The basic arguments against inter-racial marriage at that time were the same arguments that are being made against same-sex marriage today. The anti-mixed-race marriage laws laws were unconstitutional then; the anti-same-sex marriage laws are unconstitutional today.

    Good job, Judge Piazza.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    May 10, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    Amazing how equality has replaced the word "excuse".

    You can lie, cheat, steal, and commit many crimes by saying it's equality.


  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 10, 2014 5:29 a.m.

    "Moreover, opposite sex couples engage in the exact forms of intimacy that same-sex couples do." But that isn't why society should encourage men and women to marry before they have sex. Because when men and women have sex there is a good possibilty that a child may be the result.

    I love my sister. Why doesn't the law allow me to celebrate that love with a marriage?

    Well, a lot of people will say, "Incest will harm the children!" Why do people assume I will sleep with my sister just because I love her? I just want recognition that I love my sister and that she loves me. The reason for the resistance is that people assume that marriage is all about sex. What if the man in the relationship is impotent? Are we going to have police mkaing sure that couples have sex at the right frequency? We don't because marriage isn't about sex either.

    Marriage is about having a stable relationship for the children who may be conceived, or who might have been conceived in the case of an elderly couple. Marriage is a liberal value because it fights out of wedlock births.

  • El Chango Supremo Rexburg, ID
    May 10, 2014 12:47 a.m.

    "Marriage has a presumption of intimacy, and establishes a legal relationship where none existed. Two brothers already have a legal relationship, and there is no presumption of intimacy or immutable characteristic to do so."

    Two adult brothers don't have the legal protections of marriage... What if two adult brothers fall in love? Why can't they get married? What about a mother and her adult daughter. A mother child relationship doesn't have the same tax-benefits as a marriage. If two men can have an intimate relationship and have it sanctioned by the state, why do they have to be unrelated? Isn't that discrimination?

    An opposite sex relationship between two adults who are not closely related is the only relationship that makes sense. If biology is no longer an important requirement for marriage, why restrict familial status? One can't possibly argue that siblings have all the protections that a marriage offers!

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    May 9, 2014 10:08 p.m.

    Step by step closer to equality for all! The U.S. will soon be part of the group of the most advanced nations where democracy and respect for human rights triumph. Contrast it with the nations that condemn homosexuality and persecute LGBT persons -- the likes of Uganda and Iran, to realize on which side we should stand.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 9, 2014 10:05 p.m.

    @Serious: "Perhaps law schools around the country should begin including a course in human biology in the curriculum."

    This is not about biology. From the judge's order: "Procreation is not a prerequisite in Arkansas for a marriage license. Opposite-sex couples may choose not to have children or they may be infertile, and certainly we are beyond trying to protect the gene pool. A marriage license is a civil document and is not, nor can it be, based upon any particular faith. Same-sex couples are a morally disliked minority and the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages is driven by animus rather than a rational basis. This violates the United States Constitution."

    I think he hit every note pitch-perfect.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    May 9, 2014 10:01 p.m.

    I guess you can throw away ballot inititives now and only elect representatives so they can approve judges since a judge makes the laws and will find something in the Constitution that is not there. 14th amendment most abused amendment. Judges used it to legalize abortion and think equality means the right to marry someone of the same gender. Marriage is not mentioned in that amendment. It will be a failed social experiment since the counterfeiter the Devil himself does not support his followers once they subject themselves to him.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    May 9, 2014 9:26 p.m.

    @Equal Protection

    I was about to use the same quote but you beat me to it. That's fifteen in a row for Marriage Equality.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    May 9, 2014 9:25 p.m.

    @ Serious. The constitution protects the moral and intimate sexual conduct of same-sex couples. Moreover, opposite sex couples engage in the exact forms of intimacy that same-sex couples do. So in that sense they are similar situated. Even in the use of assisted reproductive technology. Procreation is not a requirement of civil marriage law, nor is there a parental fitness test for any couple.

    Marriage has a presumption of intimacy, and establishes a legal relationship where none existed. Two brothers already have a legal relationship, and there is no presumption of intimacy or immutable characteristic to do so.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    May 9, 2014 9:15 p.m.

    No reason except that gay marriage does not fir the time tested definition of marriage. Marriage is the union of a man and woman as husband and wife. A husband is a man married to a woman a wife is a woman married to a man. No man can be a wife and no woman can be a husband. No two men or no two women in a relationship can provide a mother and a father to children.

    Laws, definitions and traditions have stood since the founding of the nation and now many act as if their rights have been taken away. There were no rights for SSM until recent judges read it into law that judges not seen to do for over 200 years.

    Those who advocate SSM now want to label those who are for the traditional marriage with bigotry and vile animus. These professed rights are newly claimed in contradiction to long held laws and definitions. No one has been trying to take away any rights.

  • Serious Rexburg, ID
    May 9, 2014 8:55 p.m.

    Perhaps law schools around the country should begin including a course in human biology in the curriculum. Then, perhaps, these judges could see the rational reason a gay marriage makes absolutely no sense.

    The Loving vs. Virginia case which is so often pointed out, was a case where the court ruled that a man was allowed to marry a woman.

    I'm waiting for a day where two brothers want to marry... What is the rational reason for preventing that?

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:43 p.m.

    "It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it." The judge said.

    Bigotry and vile animus places same-sex couples in a unstable position of being in a second tier marriage. The differentiation demeans these couples, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects and whose relationship the State has sought not to dignify. This humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The marriage ban makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:42 p.m.

    Great News for Arkansas!