It has also been a week filled with confusion, so here is a breakdown of how the battle began and where it stands now one week later.
Same-sex marriage in Arkansas is a debate dating back to 2004, when Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in the state. Then on Friday, May 9, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Christopher Piazza struck down the ban, making history in the Natural State and marking Arkansas as the 18th state to allow same-sex marriages. On Saturday, May 10, couples began lining the Carroll County Courthouse steps.
"It's been eventful. It's an indescribable feeling... I'm still in shock by it but yeah, first ones in Arkansas history," said Jennifer Rambo and Kristin Seaton, the first same-sex couple to get marriage license in Arkansas.
Monday, May 12, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed paperwork asking the Arkansas State Supreme Court to temporarily set aside Piazza's ruling. That request was rejected, prompting the Washington County Courthouse to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"To be a part of this, whether we were the first couple or the fiftieth couple, it's truly a miracle. We're a family whether they want to believe that or not, but we are a family," said Amy Grigg and Diana Rister, the first couple married in Washington County.
Wednesday, May 14, McDaniel again asked the supreme court to suspend the ruling, saying it was causing confusion among county clerks. That request was again rejected and University of Arkansas Law Professor Dr. Steve Sheppard believed clarification from the Pulaski County Circuit Court would be right around the corner.
"I'm very proud of Arkansas for wrestling so carefully with this issue. I should hate to think that we rushed, as we have often rushed to judgment on these issues," said Sheppard.
In the meantime, the only two counties left granting same-sex marriage certificates, Washington and Pulaski, temporarily suspended the process until clarification was made. Thursday, May 15, Judge Piazza clarified his decision, striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it also applies to a law prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. With the updated ruling, Pulaski County restarted its process.
"We are issuing marriage licenses again... We've had several couples come in this morning we had to turn away. I'm sorry for that," said Pulaski County Circuit Clerk Larry Crane.
Friday morning, May 16, Washington County followed suite, issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples once again. But at 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay of Judge Piazza's ruling, halting all same-sex marriages throughout the state.
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