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Court halts same-sex marriages in Arkansas

Alex Wong / Getty Images News

Arkansas's highest court on Friday put an end to nearly a week of legal same-sex marriages in the state, The Associated Press reported.

Arkansas Judge Chris Piazza last week deemed the state's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional, which let same-sex couples certify their marriages at participating clerk's offices. But the highest court's decision Friday puts Piazza's ruling on hold — and blocks more same-sex marriages from occurring — until the case works through the appeals process.

The highest court's decision could also put marriages that have already occurred into a legal grey zone. In Utah, same-sex couples received marriage licenses shortly after a court struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban, but before that ruling was held. The federal government opted to acknowledge Utah's same-sex marriages, but the state government there has refused to accept them.

Holding a lower court's ruling has become typical in same-sex marriage cases. Although courts have unanimously ruled in favor of expanded same-sex marriage rights since the Supreme Court's 2013 decision, they've usually stayed their rulings until they work through the full appeals process. Most recently, a federal court in Idaho stayed a lower court's decision to allow same-sex marriages in the state.