Local Reaction to Defense of Marriage Provision Strike Down

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Even though same-sex marriage isn't legal in Arkansas, the Supreme Court's decision was felt locally with Arkansans.

The Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality held a three hour rally at the corner of Dickson Street and N. College Avenue in Fayetteville to celebrate the ruling. People held up signs and cheered as cars honked at them.

"I think I went through every emotion in the book this morning when I heard all of the good news and it also sunk back in the realization of what we still have to do towards equality in this nation," said James Rector, president for the NWA Center for Equality.

Reverend Lowell Grisham, with St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, said he support the ruling. He said it's a civil right.

"A little bit like race, the culture as well as the religion will see the goodness of equality and the quality of the relationships of married gay people," Grisham said. "It's just like my marriage of 38 years."

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe defended the current state law.

"We got a constitutional amendment in Arkansas that says marriage is between a man and a woman, that's the way the Arkansas people feel and that's the way the Arkansas voters voted and so that's our law," Beebe said.

Associate Pastor Ben Rowell, with the First Baptist Church in Lowell, said he's disappointed. Rowell said it's a moral issue.

"I think we have to pray and talk to people about what we believe in," Rowell said. "They have a right to believe in what they believe I know that. I can't keep people from believing in something, but I also have a right to say it's wrong."

Just like the Supreme Court justices voted 5-4, Arkansans will stay divided.

"It's going to be a law but I still biblicly can't approve of that," Rowell said.

Rector said, "We know it won't be easy and we know it will take time but it gives us that hope."