An Arkansas judge has ordered officials
to recognize the marriages of more than 500 gay and lesbian couples
performed in the state last year.
The marriages took place last May
during the brief window when such unions were legal in Arkansas. The
Arkansas Supreme Court halted the issuance of marriage licenses to
gay couples a week after another judge struck down the state's ban on
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell
Griffen chided state officials who refused to recognize the
“With shameless disrespect for
fundamental fairness and equality, [Arkansas Department of Finance and
Administration Director Larry Walters] insists on treating the
marriages of same-sex couples who received marriage licenses between
May 9 and May 15 as 'void from inception as a mater of law,'”
Griffen stated in his ruling.
Two couples whose unions the state
refused to recognize sued in February.
“They finally got some major progress
they've been waiting so long for,” Cheryl Maples, an attorney for
the couples, told
the AP. “They've been married over a year now and as of right
now they're really married.”
The state has not said whether it will
seek an appeal.