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Legislators Approve Marriage Resolution, Criticize Judge

A legislative committee Friday passed a resolution reaffirming marriage as between one man and one woman and called out the judge in the pending same-sex marriage case.
State Senator David Johnson, D-Little Rock, speaks against a marriage resolution on Friday June 20, 2014 while sponsor State Senator Jason Rapert, R-Conway (above), looks on. (David Goins)
State Senator David Johnson, D-Little Rock, speaks against a marriage resolution on Friday June 20, 2014 while sponsor State Senator Jason Rapert, R-Conway (above), looks on. (David Goins)
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A legislative committee Friday passed a resolution reaffirming marriage as between one man and one woman and called out the judge in the pending same-sex marriage case.

State Senator Jason Rapert, R-Conway, presented the motion before the Arkansas Legislative Council.

"This is not about marriage," Rapert says.  "In fact, a very small percentage of homosexual couples ever decide to marry."

Rapert noted 58 of 135 members in the general assembly signed on as co-sponsors for the resolution, which accuses Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza of failing to uphold his oath to the Arkansas Constitution.

"That judge took an oath to uphold the US and Arkansas constitution," Rapert says.  "He had no basis to rule against this particular provision, Amendment 83.  And therefore in my opinion, the Arkansas constitution was violated."

State Senator David Johnson, D-Little Rock, called the resolution "incorrect" and "false".

"We are assuming that judge Piazza personally likes same-sex marriage if we adopt this resolution and we shouldn't assume anybody does,"  Johnson says.  "He's doing that based on his oath of office.  Since Arkansas did it, since Piazza did it, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania have done it.  Now, it's not like all these judges are going off the rails and doing whatever they want to do.  They're not doing that.  They're reading the decision of the US Supreme Court last year and that's their only option."

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 but did not weigh in on legality of state ban's on same-sex marriage.

Piazza set aside the state's gay-marriage ban on May 9, which resulted in more than 500 same-sex marriage licenses being issued in Pulaski, Washington, Carroll and Saline counties over a five-day period.

The Arkansas Supreme Court placed a stay on the ruling May 16, stopping any additional marriage licenses and placing the case on hold until the seven justices take up the appeal.
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