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Ark. lawmaker calls for impeachment of judge who struck down gay marriage ban

Ark. lawmaker calls for impeachment of judge who struck down gay marriage ban
Jason RapertPhoto: AP

CONWAY, Ark. — An Arkansas state lawmaker is calling for the impeachment of a Pulaski County judge who struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Jason Rapert
Jason Rapert AP

State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway, Ark.) says the judge’s decision should not stand since he says 75 percent of Arkansans voted in 2004 that marriage is between a man and woman, reports KARK-TV.

“I have been contacted today by other legislators that would seek to start impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives against Judge Chris Piazza,” said Rapert.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza on Friday ruled that the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was “an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality.”

Piazza’s ruling also overturned a 1997 state law banning same-sex marriage.

But Republican House Speaker Davy Carter called Rapert’s suggestion “absurd,” and said he would not support any attempts at impeachment.

“Trying to impeach a judge because you don’t like his or her decision notwithstanding the subject matter is absurd and goes against hundreds of years of the way our great country has conducted business under our three branches of government,” said Carter.

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“The appellate process needs to run its course. Our forefathers saw the importance of our constitution and system of self-governance,” he said. “That system has worked well for a long time and make us who we are as a country. I won’t support any effort to undermine that.”

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced Saturday his intent to appeal Piazza’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, but not before 15 marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in northwest Arkansas’ Carroll County.

McDaniel, who says he supports marriage equality but will still defend the ban, is also seeking a stay in the ruling to prevent any additional marriage licenses from being issued.

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