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Maybe The Coolest Lawyer Ever?

I present to you Jack Wagoner, who is definitely not a jackwagon.

... a spur-of-the-moment Facebook post entangled Wagoner in the fight for LGBT rights in Arkansas, territory he'd previously visited before. Since then, Wagoner, along with Searcy attorney Cheryl Maples and others, has provided both behind-the-scenes legal expertise and impassioned and sometimes emotional courtroom argument in support of the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Those efforts led to Pulaski Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's May 9 ruling that struck down the state's ban on gay marriage.


So basically he's partially responsible for Piazza's decision to overturn the gay marriage ban in Arkansas. That's pretty cool.

Though his father, Dr. Jack Wagoner Jr., was somewhat conservative in his thinking, he opened the first integrated medical practice in the state in 1969, partnering with a black physician. That decision-turned-statement on equality has stuck with his son.


His dad sounds pretty cool too.

In a two-lawyer firm in a storefront in Riverdale, in a cluttered office with a portrait of The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia smiling beatifically down from the wall, at a desk adorned with a large coffee cup that says "Like I Give a Fuck," Jack Wagoner takes on the world. Most days, unless he's got to be in court, he dresses like he's on his way to a Jimmy Buffett concert: blousy shorts, sandals, loud shirts.


I mean okay come on, he's a lawyer that dresses like Jimmy Buffett and has a "Like I Give A Fuck" coffee mug. And a Jerry Garcia portrait. My inner 13 year old is like, "best guy. ever."

His current crusade for gay marriage isn't his first foray into LGBT rights. Wagoner was one of the attorneys for John Moix, a divorced father who had been forbidden by the courts from cohabitating with his male partner of seven years on nights when Moix's 12-year-old son was visiting. In November 2013, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling in the Moix case, striking down the blanket law that had forbidden unmarried people from having romantic overnight guests when minor children are present.


I didn't even know that was a law. What the fuck, Arkansas? I'm sure it was put on the books specifically to target LGBT couples, but it sounds like it could apply to heteros as well - in which case I've known a metric butt ton of people who've broken this law-that-thankfully-isn't-a-law-anymore.

But I posted on Facebook that if you go to the Pulaski County Clerk for a marriage license, and you're a same-sex couple, and they won't give you one, you've got a free lawyer." Later the same day, Wagoner made another Facebook post, referencing the Arkansas morality group that pushes a conservative agenda on issues ranging from abortion to marijuana legalization: "Suck it Family Council."


Okay hey I'm pretty sure this is like that Tom Hanks movie Big, and Jack Wagoner is a 14 year old who made a wish to be a grown-up. (That isn't even a bad thing.)

Wagoner, who has been agnostic since college, said that a lot of his passion for the issue of same-sex marriage comes from a dislike of those who would seek to use the Bible as a tool to control others. It's annoying, he said, to have one side of any moral argument claim that the Bible is the be-all-end-all authority on the issue, especially given that carefully chosen passages from the Bible could be used to make the case for almost any practice or belief. On the issue of same-sex marriage, Wagoner said, the other side can't separate their religious convictions from civil law and can't seem to recognize that the same First Amendment that prevents the government from forcing churches to marry gay people also forbids the government from discriminating against same-sex couples who want to get married.


I'm surprised this guy hasn't been run out of Arkansas yet with opinions like that.

Asked about his thoughts on state Sen. Jason Rapert, Republican of Bigelow — who has repeatedly questioned Pulaski Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's authority to strike down state law, and who authored and pushed through a resolution June 20 that affirmed the Arkansas Legislative Council's support for Arkansas Amendment 83, which outlawed gay marriage — Wagoner said he considers him an embarrassment who uses select passages from the Bible to justify discrimination while depicting himself as being "in some higher, better, more moral category."

"That way of thinking is an embarrassment to the state, and to the opportunity to have us viewed as decent, caring, progressive people," Wagoner said. "His stance is on all fours with Orval Faubus standing in the doors of Central High to keep black students from entering."


Is he implying what I *think* he's implying in that last paragraph, with Rapert down on all fours? By the way, you might also know Jason Rapert from such bullshit as "we're not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in", and a bill banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat's detected within six weeks of pregnancy. He's a a shitbird of the worst magnitude.

In the end, it all goes back to fighting for the underdog. He said that the most patriotic movie he ever saw wasn't "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" or "Saving Private Ryan," or "Top Gun." It's "The People vs. Larry Flynt," a large part of which is about an idealistic lawyer who steps up to defend the much-reviled publisher of "Hustler" magazine after he was charged with indecency. Seeing someone defend the rights of those who the majority seeks to crush is what makes him feel patriotic, Wagoner said.


Jack Wagoner: Definitely Cooler Than Any Other Lawyer I've Ever Met. What a total fucking hero. I want to shower him in hugs and kisses and cry with joy! He and Cheryl Maples both have done such good work in trying to obtain marriage equality in one of the most backwards states in the US, and his "looking out for the little guy" mentality is something I wish I saw more often in Arkansas. Now do an article about Cheryl Maples, Arkansas Times!

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