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

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.


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