Two women were married on a sidewalk outside a county courthouse in Arkansas on Saturday, breaking a barrier that state voters put in place with a constitutional amendment 10 years ago.
A day after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza said the ban was “an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality,” Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, exchanged vows at an impromptu ceremony, officiated by a woman in a rainbow-colored dress.
The couple had spent the night in their Ford Focus after traveling to Eureka Springs from their home at Fort Smith, and was the first of about 10 couples to line up outside of the courthouse before it opened.
“Thank God,” Rambo said after Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued them a license, ending a brief period of uncertainty when a different deputy county clerk said she wasn’t authorized to grant one and questioned whether Piazza’s order in a courtroom 150 miles away had any bearing in Eureka Springs.
Piazza ruled Friday that Arkansas’ 2004 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution violates the rights of gay couples, clearing the way for the first same-sex marriage in a traditional southern state. He didn’t put his ruling on hold as some judges in other states have done.