Arkansas To Appeal Ruling That Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban
EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — State lawyers plan to appeal a judge's decision overturning the constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by Arkansas voters in 2004 banning gay marriage.
But not before 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in Carroll County. Gay marriage arrived in the Bible Belt Saturday, beginning with two women who traveled overnight to ensure they'd be first in line.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza paved the way Friday with a ruling that removed a 10-year-old barrier and overturned a 1997 state law banning gay marriage.
Piazza in Little Rock on Friday struck down the 2004 ban, saying there was no rational reason for it. But because he didn't issue a stay, Arkansas' 75 county clerks had to decide for themselves whether to grant marriage licenses.
Most Arkansas courthouses are closed Saturdays, but the one at Eureka Springs usually opens to issue marriage licenses.
Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued the first license Saturday morning to Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo of Fort Smith.
Osborn says 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in Carroll County.
Arkansas' attorney general Dustin McDaniel asked Piazza to temporarily delay allowing marriages pending an appeal to the state Supreme Court.