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Ark. high court won't stay gay marriage ruling

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May 12, 2014: After marrying Allan Cox, 48, left, and Steve Thomas, 61, right, Judge Wendell Griffen, center, signs their marriage license in this photo in Little Rock, Ark. (AP)

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected the state attorney general's request for a stay of a judge's ruling that overturned Arkansas' constitutional ban on gay marriage.

The high court on Wednesday turned down the request from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel that would have halted the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza had ruled last week that a voter-approved gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, but didn't issue a stay. A few counties began issuing marriage licenses, and by midweek about 450 couples had gotten them.

The vast majority of the state's counties refused to grant licenses, saying the Supreme Court needed to weigh in. McDaniel said a stay was necessary because clerks did not know whether they were obligated to issue licenses.