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More From Today’s Historic Gay Marriages in Arkansas: PHOTOS

Taylor_titus

Some more photos courtesy of Kat Wilson and Grav Weldon of the historic first same-sex marriages that took place in Eureka Springs, Arkansas earlier today.

Zeek Taylor and his partner of 42 years Dick Titus [pictured above] were one of the first lucky couples to obtain a marriage license at the Carroll County courthouse.

Check out some of the other couples, AFTER THE JUMP

And with still no word on whether Judge Chris Piazza will issue a stay of his Friday ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the door remains open for courthouses across the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples come Monday. Uncertainty remains on the minds of many county clerks, however...

Unlike most other courthouses in Arkansas, the Carroll County courthouse is open on Saturdays.

Continue reading "More From Today’s Historic Gay Marriages in Arkansas: PHOTOS" »


Marriage Equality Kicks Off in the South as Eureka Springs, AR Begins Issuing Licenses to Gay Couples

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Carroll County Deputy Clerk Lana Gordon, despite turning away same-sex couples earlier this morning, has relented and allowed her office to begin issuing licenses to waiting couples at the courthouse in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The news comes a day after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza issued a ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 10.57.05 AMKUAF’s Jacqueline Froelich reports that Gordon requested an attorney general's opinion this morning on whether she could issue licenses to same-sex couples. When she didn't hear back, she made the unilateral decision to not issue them and closed the office.

Around 50 couples and some supporters were gathered, but the police came to the courthouse and asked everyone to disperse. Now, the courthouse seems to be opening back up again after another deputy clerk in training, Jane Osborne, announced she would issue the licenses. 

The Arkansas Times adds that the Association of Arkansas Counties has scheduled a conference call for county clerks and county attorneys at 2 p.m. today to discuss ramifications of yesterday's Piazza ruling.

Developing..

[photos via Instagram]

 


Arkansas AG Files Stay of Gay Marriage Ruling, Eureka Springs to Begin Issuing Licenses Today: UPDATE

McdanielThe AP is reporting that Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has asked Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza to suspend his ruling yesterday striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban while it’s appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Last week, McDaniel announced that he supports gay marriage but would continue defending the state's ban in court. 

And with no word yet on whether the stay will be granted, there are incoming reports that the clerk’s office in the small town of Eureka Springs will be open to issuing same-sex marriage license from 9am-1pm CT today.

Eurekasprings_arEureka Springs, which bills itself as the “Gay Capital of the Ozarks,” lies 182 miles northwest of Little Rock on the Missouri border and isn’t far from the Oklahoma border.

You can get married in Arkansas without being a resident of the state and there is no waiting period. 

UPDATE:

The Arkansas Times is reporting that same-sex couples who lined up this morning in the Eureka Springs courthouse have been told by the deputy county clerk that she would not be issuing licenses to straight or same-sex couples today because her boss, the county clerk, was out of town.


Arkansas Attorney General Says He Supports Gay Marriage But Will Defend State's Ban

Arkansas Attorney General dustin McDaniel told attendees at the Associated Press Managing Editors convention that he supports marriage equality but he plans to defend the state's ban in court, the AP reports:

McdanielMcDaniel, a Democrat serving his final year as the state's top attorney, became the first statewide official in Arkansas to back same-sex marriage....

...McDaniel had voiced support for civil unions when he ran for attorney general in 2006, but said then he believed marriage was between a man and a woman. McDaniel ran briefly for governor but dropped out early last year.

McDaniel said he was not calling on any other statewide officials or candidates to support gay marriage, and said he would not campaign for ending the ban while serving as attorney general.

McDaniel told the reporters:

"I want to tell you I do support marriage equality and I do believe Arkansans should have the right to be equal in the eyes of the law...I'm going to zealously defend our constitution, but at the same time I think it's important to let people [know] where I stand on the matter."


17 Killed in Central U.S. Tornado Strikes, Drone Footage Shows Widespread Destruction: VIDEO

Drone

At least 17 people have been killed following a series of massive tornadoes that ripped through Arkansas and Oklahoma on Sunday.

Reunters reports:

Arkansas authorities said at least 10 people had died in Faulkner and six more across the state - the first reported fatalities of this year's tornado season. Another person was killed in neighboring Oklahoma, said the sheriff's department.

Searchers were continuing to dig through rubble in Vilonia and a spokesman for the County Sheriff's office said there was a "mass casualty situation".

"An entire neighborhood of 50 or so homes has been destroyed. Many homes are completely gone except the foundation ... There is more devastation like this in other parts of Arkansas," state congressman Tim Griffin told Reuters.

Stormchaser Brian Emfinger was also able to shoot aerial drone footage of the tornado’s destructive aftermath in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Judge to Rule on Arkansas Gay Marriage Ban Within Two Weeks

Piazza

Following hearings yesterday, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said he would rule within two weeks on a challenge to Arkansas' ban on gay marriage, the Arkansas News Bureau reports:

Twenty-one same-sex Arkansas couples — and one woman seeking a divorce from a woman she married in New York — allege in a lawsuit that Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution, which was approved by voters in 2004 and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, violates rights guaranteed under both the state and federal constitutions.

The state attorney general’s office maintains that banning same-sex marriage preserves state interests and does not violate any fundamental rights.

ArkansasJack Wagoner, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said during Thursday’s hearing that since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in the U.S. v. Windsor case last year, 18 federal and state court decisions have been issued addressing the issue of equality based on sexual orientation, and all have been decided in favor of equality.

“I love coming to court when the facts are all on my side,” Wagoner said.

Assistant Attorney Colin Jorgensen argued that in the Windsor ruling, the Supreme Court addressed federal law only and did not block states from defining marriage as they wish.

More on the hearing here.

Said Piazza following the three-hour arguments: "I’ve already got an idea where I’m going, but I’m still drifting."


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