EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. — Gay marriage arrived in the Bible Belt on Saturday, beginning with two women who had traveled overnight to ensure they would be first in line.
‘‘Thank God,’’ Jennifer Rambo said after Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a marriage license to her and Kristin Seaton, a former volleyball player at the University of Arkansas. The Fort Smith couple wed moments later on a sidewalk near the county courthouse; the officiant wore a rainbow-colored dress.
In total, 15 licenses were issued for same-sex couples in northwest Arkansas’ Carroll County, Osborn said after the office closed Saturday.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza paved the way Friday with a ruling that removed a 10-year-old barrier, saying a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2004 banning gay marriage was ‘‘an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality.’’ Piazza’s ruling also overturned a 1997 state law banning gay marriage.
But because Piazza didn’t issue a stay, Arkansas’ 75 county clerks were left to decide for themselves whether to grant marriage licenses.
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