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Arkansas same-sex marriages resume after Supreme Court decision

Amanda Ward, left, and Amanda Green, right (holding baby McKenna Ward), apply for a marriage license at the Pulaski County Court House Friday, June 26, 2015 in Little Rock, Ark. following a ruling by the US Supreme Court that struck down bans on same sex marriage nation wide.
Amanda Ward, left, and Amanda Green, right (holding baby McKenna Ward), apply for a marriage license at the Pulaski County Court House Friday, June 26, 2015 in Little Rock, Ark. following a ruling by the US Supreme Court that struck down bans on same sex marriage nation wide. Brian Chilson, AP

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A federal judge also struck down Arkansas’ ban last year, but her decision was also stayed and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis put proceedings on hold because of the high court’s case.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who opposes gay marriage, said he disagreed with the ruling but that the state would comply.

“While my personal convictions will not change, as governor I recognize the responsibility of the state to follow the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court,” Hutchinson said in a statement released by his office. “As a result of this ruling, I will direct all state agencies to comply with the decision.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, also a Republican who had vowed to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, also said the state should comply. She said clerks should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples upon request and that the ruling also entitled the couples to file joint tax returns.

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“Government agencies which provide privileges and benefits to married couples or spouses of married individuals should provide the same privileges and benefits to married same-sex couples and same-sex spouses of married individuals,” she wrote in a memo to state and local officials Friday afternoon.

The head of the group that campaigned for Arkansas’ gay marriage ban in 2004 says he believes the U.S. Supreme Court ruling raises troubling questions about marriage that aren’t easily answered.

“There are probably a dozen or more major questions that this ruling creates that I don’t think anybody knows the answers to,” said Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council, which spearheaded the campaign for the 2004 amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

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