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Eureka Springs, Arkansas to Issue Same-Sex Union Certificates

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Arkansas' most gay-friendly resort destination, Eureka Springs, will next week begin recording same-sex unions and issuing certificates in recognition. The certificates offer few new rights beyond recognition but could assist domestic partners seeking health insurance benefits. Of course, the religious right folk are up in arms:

Eurekasprings"The Reverend Philip Wilson, pastor of the First Christian Church, says he thinks the new service by the city is at odds with the town's image as a Victorian village. He has taken out newspaper ads expressing his concerns that recording same-sex unions will make Eureka Springs, as he put it, 'a homosexual Mecca.' The city council voted unanimously last month to set up the registry of unorthodox unions. The certificates will be issued to any pair over 18 years of age who pay a $35 fee. Mayor Dani Wilson -- no relation to the preacher of the same last name -- said she's gotten tons of e-mails wondering when the registry would be open for business."

The town is apparently a popular wedding destination, kind of like the Bible Belt's own Niagara Falls. Folks come to get married under the Christs of the Ozarks statue.

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Comments

  1. Eureka Springs has been the Midwest's gay weekend getaway for years. They do Pride weekends two or three times a year (autumn is when it's the most beautiful there). My partner and I would drive from Tulsa every six months to stay the weekend in a gay-friendly B&B. The shop owners and inn keepers quickly realized that the gays and lesbians had the money and loyalty to keep them in business. Good for the town for taking the extra step to offer a registry.

    And "Touchdown Jesus" is on the "Christian" side of town ... away from the historic district.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 12, 2007 10:39:46 AM


  2. Eureka Springs is a beautiful town, and I'm so happy that they're taking this important step. I've been there several times; one of my very first family vacations was to see the Christ of the Ozarks statue (which is beautiful) and then drive over to Magic Springs amusement park.

    I think it's perfectly fitting that a town known for its giant statue of a welcoming Jesus is making such a gesture of acceptance.

    Posted by: Kirk | Jun 12, 2007 10:51:37 AM


  3. FYI Andy, I came across this on DKos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/6/12/85425/2909

    It's not getting much media exposure yet and it should. Do what you can with it folks. TIA.

    Posted by: beergoggles | Jun 12, 2007 10:58:53 AM


  4. It's a great first step; especially in the heart of Fundamentalist bible belt.

    Unfortunately the $35 that the certificate costs will be more than the total financial benefit that it will confer.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 12, 2007 11:06:13 AM


  5. WOW AWESOME! Another obscure little corner of America is taking up the cause and making their hamlet the newest epicenter of the gay wedding craze! Hmmm, openmindedness or openmindedne$$....

    My favorite FAVORITE quote from New York Magazine this week is " Budget officials warned that scary $3 subway fares were in the offing but estimated that some of that cost could be offset by making the city a gay-wedding destination."

    KA CHING

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 12, 2007 11:30:10 AM


  6. The "Rev" Williams has nothing to worry about. I would rather go straight then ever move to Eureka Springs!

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 12, 2007 11:35:22 AM


  7. Eureaka Springs is a really beautiful little city -with a lot of cool progressive locals and higher income retiree types (the crowd who helped push to get this pass) ...and as always in the south - plenty of homobigot religious extremist holy roller fundamentalists.

    Thanks Mayor! ..for the first time in years this Arkansas homo in the big city is proud to call that little place...my birthplace...home.

    Posted by: christian pelham | Jun 12, 2007 12:07:02 PM


  8. Oh, please, Rev. Wilson! The Victorian Age had to have been the gayest era ever.

    Posted by: Nick | Jun 12, 2007 12:42:08 PM


  9. Another town supporting benefits for same sex couples in the form of civil unions is good news, and the way it should be.

    Progess is being made daily throughout the USA and is tantamount to marriage, though it recognizes a difference in the pairings.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jun 12, 2007 1:32:57 PM


  10. Stephen you are such an annoying ass! I will forever be on your ass like white on rice. You insulted me, that was fine; but when you insulted and degraded my family you earned yourself an enemy for life!

    Now you have the audacity to lie and say that what Eureka Springs is offering is Civil Unions with benefits tantamaount to marriage?

    Jesus Christ is there no level to which you won't stoop to peddle your bullshit?

    You have got to be one of the MOST annoying commenters that frequents this thread.

    If you did just TWO SECONDS worth of research ANYWHERE other than your favorite Focus on the Anus and Worldnutdaily websites you would quickly discover that just about everything that you say about marriage equality and just about everything you say about Civil Unions being identical to marriage is absolute bullshit.

    I for one wish you would STFU if all you can do is parrot the same tired, misinformed and intentionally misinforming crap that you have regurgitated here, ad nauseam, for months now.

    Please consider attending the next meeting of Exodus International when it comes to a town near you. Though I don't believe that a person's sexual orientation can be changed, I'll pray my ass off that it works in YOUR case. Heck, I'll even be willing to host a fundraiser to pay your entry fee.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 12, 2007 2:31:45 PM


  11. Zeke, just curious, you're normally so mellow and all, who are your least favorite posters on this site?

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Jun 12, 2007 2:46:04 PM


  12. Zeke,
    There will always be a difference in what constitutes marriage when disciussing it in the context of same sex vs different sex.

    I think if you have all the benefits (via civil union) that married, heterosexual couples have, you would not care if they called it fruit loops.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jun 12, 2007 3:26:20 PM


  13. ANON, I'm sorry that Stephen draws out a side of me that I really hate to see. I generally try to be a peacemaker and open to other people's opinions, even when I think they are wrong. However, Stephen continually degrades my marriage, my family and the legitimacy of our son and I simply cannot abide that no matter how he tries to sugar coat it. He repeats the same, tired misinformation on here over and over and it gets under my skin like no other person here can. I'm sorry that the rest of you have to endure my rants in response to him.

    As for my least favorite posters; I won't go there. That wouldn't be cool. There are VERY few that I would put into such a category anyway. The more I age and mellow (with the help of my sainted husband), the more people have to work hard to get on my bad side.

    I will say that I have really enjoyed reading your posts. I don't know if you are a new addition or not but I have really enjoyed your contributions.

    I don't have a lot of time to post these days, with the kid out of school and me coaching little league baseball over the summer, but I do try to stop in every few days to catch up.

    Take care all.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 12, 2007 4:54:32 PM


  14. Oh, and let me say one more thing to Stephen. It's a damned shame that you put greater emphasis on the genitalia of those in a relationship than you do the love and respect that they show to each other and the commitment they have to their relationship AND THEIR FAMILY. You have made it painfully clear that the genitalia of the partners is THE MOST important thing in the determination of whether or not they should be allowed to marry.

    Here are my questions to you Stephen, and for the life of me I don't know why I'm still debating this with you:

    Does it matter if a black person is forced to sit in the back of a bus as long as the bus takes him to the same destination and the back seats are of the same quality, and have the same bells and whistles, as the other seats?

    Should we not be able to segregate white kids from black kids in schools as long as they are taught the same things and have the same facilities?

    Should we not be able to have separate water fountains for different races as long as they provide the same water from equivalent dispensers?

    You may say yes but the Supreme Court said no, EVEN before most Americans agreed with them.

    Explain to me how your separate but equal position on marriage equality is different than any of the other "separate but equal" scenarios listed above.

    You keep repeating, over and over, that America will NEVER give gay and lesbian people marriage equality because they are "different". Well, as a man who grew up in Mississippi in the 60's I can tell you that your arguments sounds ALL TOO FAMILIAR to me. Like the racist segregationist before you, you will one day be proven to be dead wrong and out of touch with reality.

    Sorry I won't be there to see it.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 12, 2007 6:00:37 PM


  15. Thanks, Zeke, but you do seem a bit stressed out. Maybe some time away from here will do you some good. The Internet isn't always the friendliest place. Have fun in the sun.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Jun 12, 2007 6:28:00 PM


  16. Zeke,

    I am sorry if you believe I have degraded your 'marriage', your family and the legitimacy of your son. However, I have done none of that. You have brought that into the dialogue, not me. I am speaking exclusively on what constitutes the definition of marriage. I've not once brought your relations into this conversation.

    Moving on, how can I 'lie' about something that I happen to feel strongly about? It's a feeling based on my beliefs. Hence, I cannot (nor can anyone) lie about something that is part of their individuality and integrity.

    I do not condone behavior or laws that promote anyting being separate but equal. Never will. Hence, your points regarding riding in the back of the bus,classrooms based on race and separate water fountains for blacks and whites, et al., border on ludicrous. I wholeheartedly support integration of people and cultures, unconditionally. (Sidebar: Though any immigrant becoming a citizen in the US should learn the English language).

    Your point about reducing my belief regarding same sex unions versus marriage to one's genitalia is, coincidentally, a denigration of my character, yet simultaneously, a base foundation as to why homosexual versus heterosexual unions are different (this is where you accuse me of slighting your relationship and family --- I do no such thing). You must readily agree that there is a) natural childbirth AND b) artificial means of impregnating a woman. That's not degrading anyone. That is reality and I am thankful that science has brought forth the ability for those who otherwise for health reasons, would not be able to bring beautiful life forward, can now do so.

    It (the joining of the different sexes, i.e., sexual organs) allows for the human race to continue, as was intended since the beginning of mankind. Therein does - no matter how you want to approach the topic - make for a difference between the union of a man and a woman and that of a man and a man / woman and woman.

    Your point regarding me placing more importance on genitalia vs love of family, love within a realtionship, et al., is a straw man's argument. I always hope every relationship remains loving, stable,long-term and deals constructively with challenges that come upon them. Unfortunately, there is so much distraction, mis-placement of what's important, and a general focus on trivial news items, banter, et al., that the reality is that many couples fall away from each other (they allow these peripheral distracting hyperboles to break them down) and take them away from what truly matters in life. Your remarks that my perspective discards and makes unimportant the longstanding, heartfelt goodness meant to be in a relationship/family is hurtful and completely uncalled for.

    In closing, I support the campaigns in each and every city and state to provide virtually all the benefits to long-term, same-sex couples that are provided to a man and a woman in marriage. I truly feel that if laws are passed to provide benefits, et. al., previously discussed, to same sex, long-term couples, you and many others would not care if it were called life partnership, civil union or reasonable facsimile.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jun 13, 2007 3:56:03 AM


  17. There've been some interesting comments about this post. Personally, as an Arkansan who grew up about 30 mins from Eureka, I'm elated. Everytime I go back to Fayetteville to visit family, I am amazed at the progress, but dismayed overall at how behind the times the area still seems to be. With this report, I continue to hold out hope.

    Posted by: sandy | Jun 13, 2007 7:47:47 AM


  18. Stephen, I decided not to send the point by point response that I had written to your comment because I feel that it would be a waste of time explaining to you the irony of your saying that you would never support ANYTHING that was separate but equal in the same paragraph as you explain why you support separate but equal legal partnership laws or the irony that you said that you had, “never degraded my “marriage””. I won’t explain the irony, I think it’s “obvious”.

    I don’t want to beat this horse with you any more I don’t think it is constructive or productive.

    I do want you to consider reading something. Here is a book review by a conservative gay man who seems to have similar beliefs on marriage as you but who comes at this issue from a different perspective and comes to a different conclusion about marriage equality. Take a look at it. Perhaps it will give you a different perspective as well.

    http://www.democracyjournal.org/article.php?ID=6539

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 13, 2007 11:03:04 AM


  19. Stephen, I decided not to send the point by point response that I had written to your comment because I feel that it would be a waste of time explaining to you the irony of your saying that you would never support ANYTHING that was separate but equal in the same paragraph as you explain why you support separate but equal legal partnership laws or the irony that you said that you had, “never degraded my “marriage””. I won’t explain the irony, I think it’s “obvious”.

    I don’t want to beat this horse with you any more I don’t think it is constructive or productive.

    I do want you to consider reading something. Here is a book review by a conservative gay man who seems to have similar beliefs on marriage as you but who comes at this issue from a different perspective and comes to a different conclusion about marriage equality. Take a look at it. Perhaps it will give you a different perspective as well.

    http://www.democracyjournal.org/article.php?ID=6539

    Posted by: Zeke | Jun 13, 2007 11:03:07 AM


  20. Helpful Hint #357: You're not really sorry that you've degraded a person's marriage when you continue to put the word "marriage" in irony quotes.

    Posted by: Tim Hulsey | Jun 13, 2007 5:16:34 PM


  21. Zeke,
    Thanks for the article.
    Interesting points made, some of which I agree with, others I do not.

    I fully support any bills that would grant virtually all the same benefits to same-sex, long-term couples that married couples currently enjoy. I hope they are all signed into law.

    My contention will always be that marriage is between a man and a woman for reasons previously stated in several posts on this board. I also believe that most homosexuals and lesbians would refrain from their incessant campaign for gay marriage if these bills were signed into law, (them) agreeing that a civil union (or other title) for same sex couples satisfies virtually all the criteria they seek, vis-a-vis married couples.

    Here's a very simple analogy: A road is synonymous with a street. They are essentially the same thing with different titles. They provide access from one point to another. Yeah, they are diiferent in name, but that's where it ends. Not separate but equal -- I don't buy that. Different in name,yes, But equal in their provision.

    I cannot make my perspective on this topic any clearer. Hence, I will refrain from attempting to address it with other rhetoric.

    Posted by: Stephen | Jun 14, 2007 6:56:08 AM


  22. I wonder how many of the good Christians who get married beneath the Big F'ing Jesus realize it was built by a rabid racist who was a former grand-wizard of the KKK and is buried on-site?

    Posted by: Clay | Jun 17, 2007 11:14:07 AM


  23. Alternative names for the Big F'ing Jesus: "The Chalk Monster" and "Willie Nelson in a Dress." It's amazing how many people come to Eureka Springs and ask, "Why do you have a giant statue of Willie Nelson?"

    Big F'ing Jesus' unfortunate resemblance to Willie may be why nobody gets married at the hem of his concrete skirts.

    Posted by: Gay News Bureau | Jun 26, 2007 7:39:18 PM


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