Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Marriage lawsuit drops governor, attorney general as defendants

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge OUT AS DEFENDANT: Marriage equality foe Beebe no longer in suit.
  • OUT AS DEFENDANT: Marriage equality foe Beebe no longer in suit.
The lawsuit filed by Searcy lawyer Cheryl Maples on behalf of a number of gay and lesbian couples seeking to strike down Arkansas bans on same-sex marriage has been amended to drop the governor and attorney general as defendants.

Jack Wagoner, a Little Rock lawyer who also has filed a separate suit for dfiferent plaintiffs in federal court, has joined Maples as co-counsel in the state case.

Here's the latest filing. It states no reason for dropping the state officers as defendants. It retains the director of the state Health Department, which maintains records such as birth and death certificates that are pertinent to discrimination claims, and several county clerks, who issue marriage licenses.

The attorney general's office will still have the responsibility of defending the state agency. Counties will have to supply their own legal defense on the charge that clerks are unconstitutionally refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Removal of Gov. Mike Beebe removes a state defendant who's stated repeatedly his personal opposition to same-sex marriage. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has long been viewed as friendly to the equal rights cause. He was among the politicians who spoke out publicly against the initiated act to prevent gay couples from adopting and fostering children. That law was struck down in court.

Wagoner said, "We do not need the governor and AG in the case to get the issues before the Arkansas Supreme Court. They say they are not proper parties. We think they are. But we don't need them. So why fight about it?"

He said his federal lawsuit will continue.

The immediate issue in the state case is a request for a restraining order to prevent the state from enforcing what plaintiffs believe are discriminatory policies against couples legally married in other states — the so-called full faith and credit argument. There are parents, for example, who are denied the right to both be listed as parents on a child's birth certificate and couples who are prevented from enjoying employment benefits that other legally married couples enjoy in Arkansas. The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Windsor case is widely viewed as giving such plaintiffs strong cases even in Arkansas, which has both statutory and constitutional bars to marriage equality.

Here's one other highly ironic example: Any legally married couple in Arkansas can file with the county clerk to convert their marriage to a covenant marriage, as Mike and Janet Huckabee did some years ago. But under existing law, a county clerk is prohibited from allowing a couple married legally in, say, Massachusetts from converting to covenant marriage status in Arkansas. That is discriminatory on its face under the full-faith-and-credit approach that has always governed how Arkansas viewed legal marriages from other states. Wouldn't it be lovely if Huckabee's covenant marriage law provided a basis for striking down discrimination against gay people?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Suspect identified in Texas shooting at Muhammad cartoon contest

    Dallas Morning News has comprehensive coverage on the shooting of two men outside a Muhammad cartoon contest held in a Garland, Texas, public school building. The FBI reportedly has confirmed that one of the men killed was Elton Simpson of Arizona, who'd previously been investigated for terrorism ties.
    • May 4, 2015
  • Piranha caught in Lake Bentonville; not to worry

    A piranha was caught last week in Lake Bentonville, KATV reports, but a state Game and Fish Commission spokesman says it's no cause for alarm.
    • May 4, 2015
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Clinton rules return

    As a professional matter, I've been halfway dreading Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy. The 2016 Democratic nomination appears to be hers for the asking. Democrats enjoy a strong Electoral College advantage. And yet it's hard to imagine how she can overcome the unrelenting hostility of the Washington media clique.
  • Gene Lyons gets to the heart of 'Clinton Cash'

    Gene Lyons gets to the heart of the "Clinton cash" so-called scandal, a Whitewater-style investigation so far that has been long on innuendo but short on damning facts.
  • Bass Pro opens megastore in Memphis' Pyramid

    Brass Pro Shops opened a new megastore and hotel today in the former Pyramid arena in Memphis. Kat Robinson and Grav Weldon are providing photo coverage.
  • Asa's talk is cheap

    Asa Hutchinson seems so much nicer about his belief in legal discrimination. But the result is more dangerous. You can be falsely lulled, as the national press has been, into believing Hutchinson is a moderate.
  • Christian soldier

    When he announces next week that he is again running for president, Mike Huckabee will tap into one of the world's great traditions of political combat: religious fear.

Most Viewed

  • City steps up police presence in Centennial Park

    The Little Rock Police Department has assigned an extra patrol to the Centennial Park area after a complaint by a property owner got Mayor Mark Stodola's attention. Paul Dodds, who lives on West 17th Street and Park and whose company Urban Frontier LLC has fixed up 10 properties for sale and rent and owns several more, emailed Stodola, the city board of directors and the police chief on Sunday. Stodola today directed City Manager Bruce Moore to increase "directed patrols" in the park area and "have Entergy light this place up like it is daytime. With summer break upon us we need to stifle this activity before it gets worse."
  • Cotton's tactics on Iran bill backfire

    Sen. Tom Cotton's unforced error ends up sinking GOP strategy on Iran bill. Cotton apparently getting comfortable with the idea of being Ted Cruz 2.0.
  • Health care task force narrows choices for consultant to four

    The first big task for the Health Reform Legislative Task Force, the task force pushed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to examine alternatives to the private option, is hiring a consultant. The task force met today and examined and discussed six proposals, narrowing the list down to four candidates .
  • State Police: teen rescued from human trafficking operation, NLR woman arrested

    The Arkansas State Police announced today that they have recovered a 15-year-old girl from a south Little Rock motel where they say she was being held against her will and sexually exploited.
  • The slow Monday open line and video

    Here's an open line.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation