Saturday, May 10, 2014

Arkansas Becomes First Southern State With Marriage Equality!

Well, well, well! The first Southern state in which same-sex couples are issued marriage licenses has become Arkansas! With a state judge  striking down statutory bans on Friday, today same-sex coupes are being issued marriage licenses in Eureka Springs, AK.

The AP reports:
Gay marriage arrived in the Bible Belt on Saturday, beginning with two women who had traveled overnight to ensure they'd be first in line. 
"Thank God," Jennifer Rambo said after Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a marriage license to her and Kristin Seaton, a former volleyball player at the University of Arkansas. The Fort Smith couple wed moments later on a sidewalk near the courthouse; the officiant wore a rainbow-colored dress. 
In total, 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in northwest Arkansas' Carroll County, Osborn said. 
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza paved the way Friday with a ruling that removed a 10-year-old barrier, saying a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2004 banning gay marriage was "an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality." Piazza's ruling also overturned a 1997 state law banning gay marriage. 
But because Piazza didn't issue a stay, Arkansas' 75 county clerks were left to decide for themselves whether to grant marriage licenses. 
Rambo, 26, and Seaton, 27, were the first gay couple to be legally married. 
Fascinating to see how things are developing. It was only a question of when, not if, marriage equality would actually come to  the South but I had though it would be a purple state like Virginia or Florida, not a deep-red state like Arkansas. Does anyone doubt now that marriage equality will be a reality in all 50 states sooner rather than later?

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