Retired Arkansas Supreme Court Justice
Donald Corbin said this week that the high court voted to strike down
the state's ban on gay marriage but did not issue a ruling.
Corbin made his comments in an
interview for an oral history of the court posted last month on the
state court system's website.
He said that late last year justices
voted 5-2 to uphold a lower court's ruling that knocked down the
state's decade-old ban and a 1997 law prohibiting gay couples from
“I tried to encourage them to
conference over the Christmas holidays,” Corbin
said. “I had an opinion ready and I didn't think it was right
for us to take a two-week vacation or a one-week vacation and not get
that case out.”
Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza's
ruling striking down the ban led to 541 gay couples receiving
marriage licenses in a handful of counties before the high court
“It was a tough political issue, but
legally it was a cakewalk,” Corbin said. “Anybody who knows
anything about the law or had any training whatsoever as a
constitutional lawyer would know that.”
Corbin also praised Judge Piazza,
calling him “courageous.”
“We were seeing polls taken showing
that a vast majority of the people in Arkansas were opposed to
same-sex marriage. It wasn't one any of us were looking forward to
getting,” he added.
The Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed
the case in June, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court found that gay
couples have a constitutional right to marry.