Fort Smith Couple First To Get A Same Sex Marriage License In Arkansas

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Following a ruling by Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza, couples lined up outside the Carroll County courthouse in Eureka Springs Saturday to tie the knot.

The first couple to get married in Arkansas were Fort Smith natives Jennifer Rambo and Kristin Seaton, according to an affiliate in Little Rock.

The affiliate, THV-11, said there were fifteen licenses granted to couples. They said the doors opened at 9 a.m., and after one Deputy Clerk said she would not issue the marriage licenses, another Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn stepped in and began issuing licenses around 10 a.m.

Reporter Macy Jenkins of THV-11 said there were around one hundred people gathered in and outside of the courthouse for most of the morning.

Marie Howard and Trella Laughlin have been together for 25 years and were one of the fifteen couples to get their marriage legalized Saturday morning.

Howard said they arrived at the courthouse around 8 a.m. and were amazed at the amount of people on the streets supporting those waiting in line.

The couple wed in Iowa last year, but said they were holding out hope that they would be able to marry in their home state.

"The first marriage license that says Arkansas, that's what is so amazing to me," Howard said.

Laughlin said some of her friends were not able to get married before the courthouse closed at 1 p.m. She said she isn't worried if an appeal goes through before the couples can get married Monday.

"We will keep fighting it, we will win and there will be thousands of people," Laughlin said.

CJ Backus and Cindy Bollmeyer were one of the many couples that did not make the 1 p.m. deadline. They said Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn was willing to stay there as long as couples needed to be married, but was told from a supervisor that any marriages after 1 p.m. would not be legalized.

They said despite the disappointment today, they are looking forward to being at the courthouse Monday morning.

"This is our home," Bollmeyer said, "And this is where we want to get married, and so I was wanting to hold out on the small hope, and here it is and it's going to happen."

More information on the ruling that Judge Piazza overturned can be found here. The County Clerk of Benton County released a statement that said they would not be issuing licenses.


  • Jackyhardbarger

    At least someone was willing to stand up against sin and not issue but there’s always someone who falls for the tricks of the world God help us

  • txkreddog

    Do what you want in the privacy of your own home Trella, but don’t throw your perverted and disgusting lifestyle in my face and tell me it’s normal. It is not. The term “marriage” is already taken. Select another definition for your activity, and thank whatever God you worship that you were not born in a Muslim country.

    • C R

      There really isn’t much difference between islamic sharia law and christian dominionist. Marriage has changed many times over the years.

  • Keith Martin

    I am proud that Arkansas has decided to move to 2014. As an educator, I make sure we teach all of our students to be tolerant of all regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation through our curriculum. Let’s fight this stupid problem of prejudice and just get along with each other.

    • FedUp

      If don’t agree with someone’s opinion this makes me prejudice? What an odd way of looking at something.

    • Robert

      “we teach all of our students to be tolerant of all regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation through our curriculum”
      Maybe you as an educator should stick to teaching, Reading Writing and Arithmetic and then Arkansas wouldn’t be rated 49th out of 50 in education in the US.

      • Keith Martin

        Now Robert, let’s not quote a statistic that you cannot prove. I’m truly sorry if you had a bad educational experience while you were in school. Our High School is ranked in the top 100 High Schools in the country, I believe there was a news about that last week from one of our local news stations. So recheck your data or information and let’s get to the back to the real problem here, old obsolete thought that needs to be changed.

      • txkreddog

        Someone, mainly our current governor, needs to get their facts straight, Arkansas educational system is pathetic. 45th out of 50 is hardly a rating to be proud of. If our teachers are touchy-feely liberals instead of dedicated professionals, we deserve this low rating. Alternate lifestyles, diversity, and “cultural understanding” seem to be more important to our teachers than basic education in math, history, and English. Get rid of those who can’t, or won’t, educate our children in the areas the real world requires, not some liberal fantasy land.

      • Keith Martin

        Robert, glad to see you sticking to your opinion. We do all have a right to that. But with our non-biased educational system, we will begin to diminish all of this discrimination by teaching our children to be non-biased in the first place. It is only a matter of time.

  • D. Baggio

    ew.. lift me up out of this illusion, Lord. surely this is a bad dream! where evil is called good and good is called evil.

    marriage is the uniting of a man and a women before God to become one flesh. why would the non-believers even bother? “just because”?

  • ozarkobjectivefodder

    Relax. The Creator hasn’t dealt a blow to the unsaved yet. If you’re concerned for your own souls, you need to reevaluate your own beliefs and recheck your faith. My recommendation; you need to relax and be not worried with the ways of the world, those unlike you. Those displaying these questionable moral decisions are responsible for their own actions, not you. Our constitution gives us inalienable rights which so many of the evangelicals have over-looked and taken for granted. Those same rights guarantee your right to assemble. Best be careful, lest you lose those same rights with your incessant attacking and hatred. Move on and worry with more important economic and pressing world threats such as the instability in the middle-east and Russia. In fact, I’d be more worried about policy making leadership in Washington D.C. than marriage licenses being issued in Eureka Springs–just sayin’.

  • brndn220

    Well, Aids and other diseases will become more of a issue now. It’s not normal or right its sick just give it 5 years you will see. I don’t see animals that way and that should say something.

  • Tony

    May God help us all in these evil times that we are living in. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Anything else is wrong and not natural.

  • oldyellar

    Brndn220 ur not very intelligent. U should probly go play while the grownups speak. Go on now

  • Sassy

    God Made ADAM and EVE, not Adam and Steve or Eve and Marie. Marriage should be one man and one woman.

  • Trish

    My thoughts on this matter which I will keep to myself will never be changed. It is what it is. My thoughts have nothing to do with my Catholicism or my personal feelings. It is just an opinion and one I will hold dear to my heart forever. I know many people with different views but that is all they are views and opinions that should not be fought over or deemed as prejudice, just because they are not agreed upon.

  • Currious

    Funny, I have read more in the Bible about how God feels about marriage after Divorce than about how He feels about homosexuality. Wonder how many toes we would step on if we made re-marriage unconstitutional? Food for thought.

    • atc8824

      What if people couldn’t get divorced?How many people would be stuck in abusive marriages?I believe in God but God says be kind to ALL people.The way I see this is how are they affecting me and my chances of going to Heaven?They aren’t I am responsible for my own soul.Judge ye lest ye be judged twice over.

      • Curious

        Not referring to the divroce just the re-marriage after divorce. There are specific references to re-marriage after divorce in the Bible. That is where a lot of people like to pick and choose their beliefs.

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