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BREAKING: Arkansas Supreme Court dismisses appeal, denies stay in same-sex marriage case

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Arkansas state sealThe Arkansas Supreme Court has reportedly denied the state’s request to halt same-sex marriages.

It appears that the judge who issued the initial decision will need to clarify parts of his ruling, according to one report. From the ruling:

Here, the circuit court did not issue a ruling with regard to Ark. Code Ann. $ 9-11-208(b) (Repl. 2009), “License not issued to persons of the same sex.” Therefore, the circuit court’s order has no effect on Ark. Code Ann. S 9-11-208(b) and its prohibition against circuit and county clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Because the judge hadn’t ruled on parts of the ban, his ruling isn’t considered final, so the state supreme court has dismissed the appeal.

This is a developing story and EqualityOnTrial will have more information as it becomes available.

For more information on Wright v. Arkansas from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. LK2014  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Hopefully, there will be a little speed bump, then more clarity soon. Judge Piazza just needs to write a final order to clear up a couple things.

    "Marriage equality remains the law of the land in Arkansas, but the court injected a wrinkle that will give counties cover to continue to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    The court noted that Piazza's ruling didn't mention a statute that prohibits clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Action will now shift to Piazza's court to pursue final orders, injunctive relief and a cleanup on the omitted statute.

    Said Jack Wagoner, attorney for the plaintffs:

    We'll fix that tomorrow and be back here again…. How can you order find something unconstitutional but not affect a statute that would require the clerks to do something unconstitutional? "

  • 2. ragefirewolf  |  May 15, 2014 at 5:32 am

    If this is the only bump, and I hope it is, and his final order can address it, then I'm not worried. Of course, the post title was a little misleading. It made it sound like a done deal. I wish Scottie was like Beetlejuice: just say his name enough times and he'll appear.

    Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie Scottie LOL

  • 3. Deeelaaach  |  May 19, 2014 at 6:46 am

    That would be three times to get him to appear.

  • 4. KarlS  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Sounds about like a situation where the right to vote was finally given to some segment of the population but an existing quasi-related law denying them (and only them) a voting 'card' is used to continue the disenfranchisement .

  • 5. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    So…if his ruling isn't finalized…what about these marriages in the meantime? It almost sounds to me like the AR SC is saying they weren't done validly?

  • 6. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    This is what I'm worrying about now. I hope they were valid.

  • 7. Zack12  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    From what I'm reading… they very well might not have been.

  • 8. grod  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Scottie – read the court decision linked below, there was no reference to validity of the 400+ marriages, rather like Utah, the AG jumped the gun asking for an appeal and stay non procedurally. Piazza needs to read Idaho's Judge Dale decision before issuing his final decision and adopt her language regarding covering all statutes on the books.

  • 9. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I was just told by reliable sources that the judge can say in his final order that the statute was meant to be included. That would mean there's no confusion over existing marriages. But as of now, the statute has been left out of the order, so apparently no new marriages can be performed at least until it is included.

  • 10. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    … I just asked this in the other thread, but I think it's better to ask here –

    So the judge just needs to include an 'umbrella' statement in the final ruling like the one in the Idaho ruling: "…and any other laws or regulations to the extent they do not recognize same sex marriages…." – Is that correct?

    And once the judge does that, where are we? Marriages resume, or does this present some new opportunity for a stay request etc.?

  • 11. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    It's my understanding that he needs to enjoin enforcement of that specific statute in the final order, and then marriages can continue.

    After that, it will be considered a final order (once he addresses the injunction and not just the declaration that the ban is unconstitutional) and that can be appealed to the state supreme court and a stay can be sought. The supreme court's order says that the appeal is dismissed "without prejudice", meaning once it's actually a final order properly before them, they can hear it.

  • 12. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Got it. Thanks!

  • 13. grod  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    'without prejudice': Same language the 10th's Appeal Court used last December 22 when Utah was refused an emergency stay, not having waited for Shelby to deny a stay. I've linked the 2 page decision here as a reminder that 'we' don't necessarily learn from other's mistakes.… .

  • 14. DrPatrick1  |  May 14, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Seems to me, even if this house keeping issue wasn't dealt with correctly, the couples are not at fault for OBTAINING the license, but the clerks could be sued to stop ISSUING the licenses. Given that the original order invalidated the prohibition on SS cou

  • 15. DrPatrick1  |  May 14, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Ss couples having the license, those licenses issued before the new and final order should carry the same legal weight as the ones obtained afterwards, and until the final appeal is completed.

    As others have stated, this just gives the other county clerks sued in the case clearance to continue to withhold new licenses until the housekeeping issue is resolved.

  • 16. AndyinCA  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Makes me wonder if states will pull this kind of petty crap even after a Supreme Court ruling in favor of ME.

  • 17. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Kind of like when the 9th Circuit said, "Hey, California? Do these boneheads here have standing according to you? Get back to me in 8 months willya?"?

  • 18. sfbob  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Actually more like when, after the Prop 8 ruling was issued, ProtectMarriage tried to have it apply only to the plaintiffs or only to the county clerks who were initially sued (Alameda and LA) or when they went on to claim that the Supreme Court having vacated the Ninth Circuit's ruling left things in limbo when it in fact reinstated Judge Walker's initial ruling.

  • 19. Dr. Z  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Just like Louisiana, Virginia and Alabama trying to keep enforcing their old sodomy laws after Lawrence.

  • 20. Chris M.  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    This is just plainly embarrassing for the judge. Writing a strong opinion on the principles, but failing on the mechanics of the trade. But then I don't know about Arkansas, but I suspect he has no staff to do any research for him, and plenty of other cases pending, so that he didn't have time to search for all implicated statutes. Unless, of course, one of the parties cited this particular law – then omitting it in his decision is close to a demonstration of incompetence, as harsh as this may sound.

  • 21. jpmassar  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Perhaps it should have been the plaintiffs' attorneys responsibility in their briefs to demand that that particular law be stricken as well?

  • 22. Steven  |  May 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Does this means after Judge Piazza fixes the his ruling the ASC will grant a stay? or they are planning dismiss the appeal and stay like NJ Supreme Court did?

  • 23. Stefan  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    They will still request a stay, but the state supreme court denying the stay initially gives a pretty strong indication that they will do so again.

  • 24. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Yup. It's not as if there is going to be any surprising new change in the substance of the ruling they already saw.

  • 25. Johnny  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Clearly you two don't understand how the rules of the court work. The ASC ruled this way because the circuit court judge didn't put a injunction on the statues forbidding marriage equality. Just because they denied the first appeal doesn't mean shit for the second one (if there is anyway).

  • 26. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    temper, temper! having a rough day?

  • 27. Johnny  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Why is it everytime you all don't want to hear what you want to hear you get your panties in a wad? Put your forks down bitches. I'm not your enemy. Got that dobbers?

  • 28. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Just for the record, shortly after I wrote that comment I quickly realized that the initial denial of stay was simply due to the fact that it had been requested prematurely, while this technicality was still unresolved, and that it would likely soon be reviewed again, but this time on the merits, as per usual. But there's no way to edit or delete, so there it is. Hope you're feeling better!

    BTW nice use of obscure penis slang. I had to look it up!

  • 29. KarlS  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Isn't there a goat around your neighborhood that needs fucking, knuckledragger?

  • 30. TxLawyer  |  May 15, 2014 at 5:56 am

    They didnt deny the first appeal … they dismissed it for want of jurisdiction. An appeals court (except in limited circumstances) can only hear appeals from final orders.

    A final order must dispose of all parties and ALL claims.

    Usually we put in a proposed order for the judge a statement to the effect "Any relief requested and not specifically herein granted is DENIED." This is called a "Mother Hubbard" clause, and makes the order into a final judgment, which is appealable.

  • 31. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Hard to call that one. They've denied the stay basically on a technicality. I'm not sure it really tips their hand one way or the other, TBH. They don't seem too concerned about the marriages taking place, but I'm not sure that necessarily means anything either way.

  • 32. Margo Schulter  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Scottie, here’s an interesting story from the Arkansas Times, quite moving, whatever the fine points of the Arkansas Supreme Court order, and also interesting on how there’s been awareness of the omission.
    Promises kept.

  • 33. Margo Schulter  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    sfbob, I remember those weeks after Hollingsworth when the Prop. 8 proponents were desperately trying to avoid the application of Judge Walker’s decision to all of California — with Attorney General Kamela Harris early and often declaring the marriage equality was now the law in all 58 counties, no ifs, ands, or buts! And by mid-August, the California Supreme Court had confirmed the obvious, with marriages going on all the while.

  • 34. BillinNO  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    And the Arkansaga continues…

  • 35. Tyler O.  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Can it please be June 2015 so all this can be over? Jesus.

  • 36. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Yeah. It sucks. Justice delayed etc. But things sure are moving much faster than they were for earlier events, like Prop 8. And I would guess much faster than most of us ever expected they would. Not that that makes any amount of delay okay.

  • 37. palerobber  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Judge Shelby's decision in Utah had a similar flaw in that it didn't explicitly strike some incidental heteronormative language in Utah Code 30-1-8 (Application for license — Contents) which read, "A marriage license may be issued by the county clerk to a man and a woman only after an application has been filed in his office …".

    Shelby clarified this when it came up at the stay hearing, but i don't know whether he ever issued a revised ruling.

    btw, since Utah 30-1-8 says "his office" does that mean licenses issued by female county clerks like they have in Salt Lake County are all invalid?!?!

  • 38. palerobber  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    not really analogous though, since the language in Arkansas 9-11-208 is *not* incidental — it was added precisely to bar clerks from issuing licenses to gay couples.

  • 39. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Yeah, I was thinking that it's really more about the substance of the law than the wording. There's no question what that law says, and Piazza should've been a little more thorough in addressing it.

  • 40. KarlS  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Every state has tubfuls of laws "on the books" that nobody ever notices, or enforces, or even cares about. This one might have simply escaped notice. Did anybody HERE know about it while the litigation was in process?…

  • 41. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    That's true but I'd expect a thorough judge and his staff to have found all the applicable laws. I'd also, to a lesser degree, have expected it of the plaintiffs' attorneys. I wouldn't expect it of the average joe or joanna on this blog.

  • 42. Zack12  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Indeed… the ball got dropped on this one.
    In the same breath, it could also help our case by highlighting the fact the ban wasn't needed in the first place due to these laws.

  • 43. KarlS  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Okay, I keep forgetting we have to be perfect.

  • 44. Margo Schulter  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    In a sense, maybe some or all of the majority in Windsor very sagely anticipated this kind of scenario.

    By affirming the Second Circuit in that case (which expressly held that heightened scrutiny applies), and following an approach to DOMA Section 3 which at any rate is rather different from usual rational-basis review, they set the stage for irresistible judicial momentum on the state DOMA’s.

    So at this point, June of 2015 or so for a landmark SCOTUS ruling doesn’t seem so rushed: it’s more ratifying the inevitable and favoring uniform nationwide law than anything else.

  • 45. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    This is very complex and confusing to me.

  • 46. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    In other news, the sky is blue.

  • 47. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    So is it going to happen??

  • 48. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm


  • 49. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I guess.

  • 50. HavingFun  |  May 14, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    me to confusing and complex very is this.

  • 51. HavingFun  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Just ignore TKinSC.

  • 52. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I admit I'm wrong.

  • 53. ragefirewolf  |  May 15, 2014 at 6:50 am

    You ain't right. That's for damn sure.

  • 54. Corey from Maryland  |  May 15, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Please stop responding to TKinSC. This person needs professional clinical help of which you are not capable nor are you being paid to do…

  • 55. Swifty819  |  May 15, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Actually, TKinSC is the victim of at least one troll which keeps posting under their name to make them look, well….crazy, like this. I don't agree with what they say, but I don't think they're all the same person either.

  • 56. Bruno71  |  May 15, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Interesting theory. It seems to be having no effect on "the real TKinSC" but driving the rest of us batty.

  • 57. Deeelaaach  |  May 19, 2014 at 6:58 am

    As Bruno71 points out, I've never heard any version of TKinSC protest too much – or even once or twice! The various versions of TKinSC have commented on it but not protested – no public requests to the admins to get it stopped, etc. I wouldn't expect it to stop it necessarily, but the lack of public protest is pretty telling to me.

    On the other hand I've seen TKinSC gloat publicly…

  • 58. Margo Schulter  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    davep, I agree that even if it takes under June of 2016, say, it will still be very fast compared to lots of other developments, like seven years between Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence in 2003. By comparison, I recall during oral argument last year, one of the justices suggested letting it “perc,” with the 58 years between Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954) as an example — hardly the proudest for the Court!

    With the 60th anniversary of Brown coming up on May 17, it is time to reflect that a day of justice delayed is a day of justice denied.

  • 59. Margo Schulter  |  May 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Bruno71, I might guess that Judge Piazza made a simple oversight, albeit an embarrassing one. That and the substance of his opinion both confirm his humanity, the latter in the best sense.

  • 60. Bruno71  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    No problemo.

  • 61. Richard Weatherwax  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    This confuses me. If a section of the state's constitution is declared unconsitutional, how can a state statute be accepted as constitutional if it in fact has the same effect as the unconstitutional part of the states constitution? Obviously, if one is unconstitutional, so would be the other.

  • 62. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Yes. But – the Decision only declares two specific measures to be unconstitutional and unenforceable – Act 184, and State Amendment 83. It doesn't say that about this third law, which ALSO serves the purpose of denying civil marriage to same sex couples because of tit's wording, and the ruling doesn't include any catch-all phrasing about "plus any and all other laws that deny recognition of, or access to, civil marriages of same sex couples" that would eliminate the need to call out each specific law that says something which indicates that same sex marriages are not allowed or not recognized.

    So they need to clean that up in a final ruling by adding another specific mention of this third law that needs to be overturned, or at least add an umbrella statement that would catch this one and any other lingering problematic phrases that might be buried elsewhere in the books.

  • 63. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    ….uh…. IT's wording. IT's.

  • 64. Chuck from PA  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    actually, correct in this usage would be its.

  • 65. davep  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Doh. yes.

  • 66. grod  |  May 15, 2014 at 5:06 am

    dave – and to prescribe injunctive relief. As I understand it from Kitchen, the state also needs to request of Judge Piazza grant a stay of the final order. Once issued, state can appeal. Once the stay denied by Piazza, state can petition the AR Supremes to do so.
    However, this time the state should address the four prescribes criteria rather than rely on the US Supremes and other states's granting stays.

  • 67. Richard Weatherwax  |  May 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Technically, you are correct. However, under the current decision, as it is written, no judge would find this third law (Ark. Code Ann. $ 9-11-208(b)) enforceable, because it "ALSO serves the purpose of denying civil marriage to same sex couples. It is currently only being used to scare clerks from issueing licenses.

  • 68. StraightDave  |  May 15, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I agree about the scare part – it was very transparent. This careful polishing by the AR SC leads me to believe they really want to make use of this ruling. If they were just going to toss it out, why bother being so picky. The stay is the only big question left imo.

  • 69. Rose  |  May 15, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Thank you for posting this comment…..I was trying to find the right words and poof, here they are:-)

  • 70. DrPatrick1  |  May 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I agree with you, but without the expansive language suggested, it would leave intact a barrier that would have to be dealt with in a subsequent lawsuit.

    (In NJ, opponents of marriage equality who were successful in initially getting only civil unions argued that the letter of the law states clearly that civil unions had to be accepted as the same thing as a marriage for state purposes. They argued that all gay couples had to do was to sue each and every single time others didn't treat them the same as married couples, and then we wouldn't have to call it marriage. Would never work, and it seems to me the AR SC is giving the circuit judge a second chance to do the cleanup here and now.)

    I may be overly optimistic, but an aggressively bigoted court would not have cared to get the cleanup done first…

  • 71. weaverbear  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:00 pm


    A plea for civility, please. To quote the president, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    Now, an observation about speed, if I may. I suspect I may be older than many of you here. I'm 59, gay and married, 1/2 of one of the 18,000plus couples who married in California during the window prior to prop 8. I also entered high school 2 months after Stonewall, IN the same neighborhood as Stonewall. 5 years later the American Psychiatric Assoc. removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Prior to that any gay or lesbian was by definition, mentally ill.

    When I first came out, the few role models I could look to were not positive ones. Today, I have the ability to actually be one. To look at the speed with which there has been this degree of social change, within the space of my lifetime really is breathtakingly fast. Marriage and parenthood were things I never dreamed I'd experience in my lifetime. This July we mark 33 years together, the last 6 legally married and our daughter turns 21.

    The first same sex couples to marry in the US are just celebrating their 10th anniversaries now. Contrast this with Loving v. Virginia. It was 189 years from the time Pennsylvania took interracial marriage bans off their law books, till SCOTUS made it legal in the last 16 states still banning it.

    By the way, let us not forget marriage equality is only a part of our battle. Housing and employment rights are also key for us. 30 years ago, I got called on the carpet by a clinic I was working for. The executive director had gotten word I might be gay, and he made it his business to tell me that if he got any further information confirming that, he would have no alternative but to fire me. I was the medical director of said clinic. No allegations I had done anything sexually inappropriate with a patient, or that my care was substandard. I would be fired simply for being a gay man. At that time under our state's laws, I had absolutely NO legal protection whatsoever. At least in our state today, I do have such protection, but until ENDA is the law of this country, many of us throughout the US still don't.

  • 72. KarlS  |  May 14, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I applaud your apparent dedication to the cause, but I decided a while back (I'm evidently 20 years older than you) that being 'civil' to assholes who want to shut me up, deny my rights, or call me dirty names is a waste of my rapidly declining resources. It became clear to me that playing 'nice' doesn't fucking work, and I will NOT sit back and let them fuck with me in the name of some bogus imaginary deity. It ain't happening…not any more.

  • 73. weaverbear  |  May 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Karl- my comment was not so much directed at you as a number of others here. I'm all for speaking truth to power. My experience is being unnecessarily caustic doesn't get people to open up, but just the opposite.

    When I look at the work our side did in Maine between 2010 & 2012, people working for marriage equality going door to door to engage and explain to folks who weren't "family" what marriage means to us and why, it confirms for me you can change both hearts and minds. The electorate in Maine is NOT predominantly gay (I know – I grew up there); for many folks that had a gay man or lesbian at their door to engage them in a discussion on the repercussions of marriage inequality for us as individuals, it enlightened them and won for us at the ballot box two years later. For many Mainers, that knock on the door was their first known personal contact with an openly gay person.

    I can't tell you how many straight people I know who had no idea of what happened to Edie Windsor when her wife died; the IRS levy of a 1/3 of a million on her in estate taxes because of DOMA, a levy no married straight couple would suffer, almost without exception hit people as hideously unfair, even those not fully over the 'ick' factor when thinking about same sex relationships.

    No, not everyone will openly engage – we both know that. But why waste time and energy on people who goal is to goad us? We're better than that.

  • 74. Rose  |  May 15, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Congratulations, my wife and I are also part of that 18,000 legally married group. We celebrate our 6th year weeding anniversary in August.

    You are a bit older than myself, as I am just turning 51 next month and you are right on how fast our rights are FINALLY getting here to us, hell……we just got the IRS to officially recognize us as being married and we able to get my wife's 2011 tax issued settled, we still are having issues with the Department of Veteran's Affair recognizing us as being married, that fight has only been going on the last year……so, we still have work to do going forward.

    By the way, one can only be civil to those who want to harm us for so long before enough is enough……..and it is obvious by what these anti-gay idiots write in these legal briefs that we have had enough civility!!!

  • 75. Jesse  |  May 15, 2014 at 11:31 am

    So funny regarding the vast expanse of the 18,000 out there. Consider me one of the 18,000 but I am but a child in comparison to both of you (just turning 35 this year).

    Civil discourse is appropriate when the other side is receptive and amenable to it. But I love Teddy Roosevelt's saying, "Speak softly, and carry a big stick." Often times, conversations with marriage equality opposition immediately escalates to the stick.


  • 76. Margo Schulter  |  May 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    weaverbear, please let me join in your call for civility, with warmest wishes to you and your spouse! Pursuing respectful and productive conversations, and avoiding counterproductive ones, is a sound strategy on this site and in the wider world of activism for marriage equality, ENDA, and much else.

  • 77. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I have 2 thoughts on this.

  • 78. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I hit submit before I could get my thoughts out. Now I forgot them. So irritated right now!

  • 79. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Oops, I just made a fool of myself.

  • 80. _BK_  |  May 15, 2014 at 4:37 am

    It's okay, we're used to that from you.

  • 81. HolySmoke  |  May 15, 2014 at 7:12 am

    One for each brain cell…

  • 82. TKinSC  |  May 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm


  • 83. JayJonson  |  May 15, 2014 at 6:54 am

    A little offtopic, but relevant. At, Claude Summers has a review article that contrasts Jo Becker's book about the Prop 8 case with Dale Carpenter's book about Lawrence v. Texas, "Flagrant Conduct," which was published in 2012. The article contains a lot of information and makes some good points about why both these books are worth reading. Here is a link. Do any of you have any comments about the article or the books in question?

  • 84. LK2014  |  May 15, 2014 at 7:22 am

    The review itself is a good read, thanks.

  • 85. Jae  |  May 15, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I am in the middle of reading Jo Becker's book. I must say it is very interesting I am learning a lot of things I didn't know such as NOM or the backers of prop 8 tried to get Olson to defend the ban and he declined them. A must read if you're interested in the total process of prop 8 even down to how they chose the plantifs and filed the case to perfect timing. One thing I thought interesting is Olson said you don't go to the Supreme Court trying to get a 5 to 4 win. You have to make 9 cases or arguments to win each Justice over. a very smart man he is and he definitely has a place in history as a great contributor to the marriage equality movement.

  • 86. JayJonson  |  May 15, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I agree that the Becker book is must reading. I didn't know that Olson initially wanted Paul Smith as his co-counsel, and then thought about approaching Kathleen Sullivan, but decided against her since she was on the short list for a Supreme Court appointment. He thought if she got appointed and confirmed, she would have to recuse herself if she had discussed the case with him and later it came before her. Boies, though he was the third choice, was an inspired one.

    I agree with Summers that the Becker book needs more context. I am glad that he calls new attention to Dale Carpenter's book on Lawrence.

  • 87. Jae  |  May 15, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I also found interesting the moment they did all their research on Walker from what I get from the book it was a big part of him officially coming out I'm only like on page 60 so sure I'm in in for some more surprises. Another thing I found shocking was how ACLU and the gay community was against him even taking the case and did not want to bring the case so soon as it may set back the movement. Another thing was the the Clinton donor friends who paid most of the 2.5 million flat fee and how some of Olson's legal friends were against him taking the case. . I havent read the one on Lawrence yet I'm gonna start that one next .

  • 88. Dr. Z  |  May 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    The gay establishment groups were also opposed to the first couples bringing suit in Hawaii in 1992 that set this whole ME movement in motion worldwide. Hindsight is always 20/20.

  • 89. sfbob  |  May 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

    There has been some criticism of Becker's book which, to me at least, seems a bit misplaced. While there are one or two factual mis-statements (African-American voters voted 70% in favor of Prop 8–that turned out to be far too high; and she made mention of Louis Brandeis as an early 20th Century litigator without bothering to note that he was one of the most influential Supreme Court justices of the 20th Century) the biggest critique–from someone who ought to know better– seems to be that she pay enough attention to the Windsor case when Becker chose from the beginning to focus on the Prop 8 case. She certainly covers Windsor as well.

    Both Carpenter's book and Becker's are fun "inside job" stories that are well worth reading.

  • 90. JayJonson  |  May 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I think the biggest criticism is that the book was promoted as a full history of the marriage equality movement, as though the struggle began with the Prop 8 litigation, and that Chad Griffin is described as the "Rosa Parks of the movement" and that Mary Bonauto, Evan Wolfson, and other pioneers in the movement are ignored or not treated sympathetically. I agree with those criticisms, but the book has many virtues as well.

  • 91. Ragavendran  |  May 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Plaintiffs ask Piazza to correct/clarify his ruling:

    Of all the Latin phrases, this one jumped out at me: nunc pro tunc 🙂

  • 92. LK2014  |  May 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I hope Piazza writes the corrected final order ASAP.

    I love nunc pro tunc! I wish we could get Judge Jacobson of NJ to do a "nunc pro tunc" and order that NJ Civil Unions be retroactively converted to marriages since the NJ Legislature screwed us all these years.

  • 93. LK2014  |  May 15, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Arkansas – Judge Piazza just sent a letter saying he will issue his Final Order later TODAY and make it RETROACTIVE to Friday!

  • 94. Margo Schulter  |  May 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

    LK2014, thanks for the great news!

    An interesting point is that the Arkansas Supreme Court has used the Arkansas Constitution to strike down sodomy laws (2002) and a law against adoption for people in nonmarital “cohabitation” (2011).

    Of course, the difference here is that Amendment 83 is itself a constitutional amendment, but, as Judge Piazza suggests, the special status of the guarantees of the Arkansas Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of 1874 may make that amendment invalid.

    If they agree with Judge Piazza on the Arkansas Constitution and make it clear that this holding does not in any way rely on federal law, then the case would not be reviewed by SCOTUS even if they also address the federal questions.

  • 95. peterplumber  |  May 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Over on the NOM blog, Brian Brown is calling for impeachment of Judge Piazza, calling him a rogue judge and "[he] decided that he is "singularly more powerful than the 135 elected legislators of the state, the elected Governor, and 75 percent of the voters of the state. Apparently he mistook his black robe for a cape and declared himself to be 'SUPER LAWMAKER.'"

    When will NOM and Brian finally give up?

  • 96. SoCal_Dave  |  May 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    IMO, Mr. Brown has a problem with the system, not with Judge Piazza. He wants the system to be changed so that judges must follow what politicians and voters say, rather than interpret the law on its own merits.

  • 97. Michael Grabow  |  May 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I'm sure he would be happy to have an "activist" judge strike down a law if it prohibited people matching his description from doing things that they wished to do.

  • 98. Keith  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Two words right wingers love to use to stir up their base for fundraising, "impeachment" and "succession." It's play well for their base which is slowly dying off and/or tiring of giving money to losing battles choosing other right wing fights like abortion or the popular du jour causes that spring up such as the Cliven Bundy ones milking people for money.

  • 99. Guest  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    "Succession" or "Secession"?

  • 100. Keith  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm


  • 101. sfbob  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Brown is calling for Piazza to be impeached? Well isn't that nice. Where in Arkansas does Mr. Brown make his home?

  • 102. JayJonson  |  May 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Ditto for Mike Huckabee, who lives in Florida.

  • 103. Margo Schulter  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Curious that Maggie Gallagher in some recent statements maybe reflected a more graceful as well as realistic approach, basically: We’ve lost on marriage equality, it’s soon coming to all 50 States, but now we’ve got to focus on love as a common interest and look for other areas where we can make a difference.

    The attacks on Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in Oregon, and now Judge Piazza, are a lot less graceful or realistic.

  • 104. Margo Schulter  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    With Arkansas, of course, secession wouldn’t help: the 2002 Arkansas Supreme Court ruling against the state sodomy laws (before Bowers v. Hardwick was overturned by Lawrence v. Texas), the 2011 ruling for adoption equality, and now Judge Piazza’s ruling for marriage equality have all been under the Arkansas Constitution of 1874 (with Judge Piazza’s ruling also under the Fourteenth Amendment). I see it as the positive side of an often quirky state history.

  • 105. Margo Schulter  |  May 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    This isn’t to endorse the portion of Maggie Gallagher’s recent statement where she characterizes Charles Cooper’s evolution as he can to understand and embrace his daughter’s sexual orientation and coming marriage as a “family crisis” rather than “family healing and love.” But there is such a thing as relative humanity.

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