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Same-Sex Couples Await Judge's Clarification On County Clerk Statute

LITTLE ROCK, AR- Late Wednesday afternoon, Arkansas Supreme Court Justices denied a motion from the state asking to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
LITTLE ROCK, AR- Late Wednesday afternoon, Arkansas Supreme Court Justices denied a motion from the state asking to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, in their ruling, the high court pointed out that last week's original ruling striking down the ban on gay marriage did not rule on a law that forbids clerks from issuing those licenses in the first place. While those licenses for gay marriages will remain valid for now, the two counties still issuing them as of Wednesday say they won't when the County Clerk's Offices open Thursday morning.

Only a few county clerks have allowed same-sex marriage since Judge Chris Piazza's ruling last Friday, but already hundreds of gay couples statewide have gotten their licenses. As the fight continues in the courts, they have a lot of questions about how this will end.

"Right now, it's a waiting game," says Devin Rudeseal and Thomas Baldwin, same-sex married couple.

Thomas Baldwin and Devin Rudeseal were the first gay couple in line to get their marriage license when the Pulaski County Clerk's Office opened Monday morning.

"We're married. We've got a license that says we're married," says the couple.

But if they had waited until Thursday, they might be out of luck.

"Since his order doesn't specifically say that statute that prohibits clerks from licensing to same-sex couples is not addressed, it's still there until he says otherwise," says Jack Wagoner.

Jack Wagoner is the attorney for the gay couples in the original lawsuit. He says he believes it was a simple oversight on Judge Piazza's part, and something that could be easily fixed as soon as Thursday morning.

"If we're correct, then it won't have any effect, things won't be any different today than they were at four o'clock today," says Wagoner.

While things may not change in the short term, the ongoing legal fight has couples who've already tied the knot on edge.

"We're holding our breath. I mean we are on pins and needles right now," says Rudeseal. "We'll keep pushing for everybody to have the same rights and marriage equality that we have."

Wagoner says he intends to file a motion in Judge Piazza's court Thursday morning asking for clarification on the clerk's ruling. According to the Pulaski County Clerk, if that law is also struck down, he'll be able to once again grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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