First Gay Marriage License Issued In Arkansas

Photo courtesy of affiliate station KFOR.

Photo courtesy of affiliate station KFOR.

Arkansas’ first gay marriage license was issued at the Carroll County Courthouse in Eureka Springs on Saturday (May 10) to Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo of Fort Smith, according to a story on thv11.com, the website of KTHV-11 in Little Rock.

Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued the license, according to the Little Rock CBS affiliate, a 5NEWS content partner.

Saturday’s developments followed a ruling by a Pulaski County judge on Friday that struck down Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban, saying the “hatred and fears” of previous years have vanished concerning prohibited marriages.

Arkansas Times, a newsweekly based in Little Rock, reported that the deputy county clerk earlier Saturday declined to issue marriage licenses to any couples because the county clerk was out of town. That county is one of the few, if not the only one, that normally issues marriage licenses on Saturday, according to Arkansas Times.

Judge Chris Piazza delivered the ruling in the case of Wright vs. Arkansas, which challenged the state statute passed in 1997 and placed into the Arkansas Constitution. The statute, which was approved by voters in 2004, prohibited same-sex couples from marrying and forbid the state from recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, according to a statement released Friday by the Human Rights Campaign.

In his ruling, Piazza referenced a past civil rights case involving Mildred Loving, a black woman who was imprisoned for marrying a white man.

“It has been over 40 years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together,” Piazza wrote in his ruling. “So it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters.”

To read more on this story from KTHV-11, and to see an interview with two of the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit, click here.

 

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