History shades Arkansas' gay marriage debate

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Fifty-seven years after federal troops escorted nine black students into Little Rock's Central High School as a white mob jeered, Arkansas again finds itself in the center of a debate over civil rights.

This time, the issue is gay marriage, but the 1957 desegregation crisis still casts a shadow.

More than 200 gay couples have been issued marriage licenses in the Bible Belt state after a judge struck down Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban.

Gay rights supporters regularly invoke the 1957 desegregation battle, warning opponents that history may not look kindly on them.

At the same time, those worries may not resonate throughout Arkansas. Attitudes about gay marriage have not moved significantly in the state in recent years, although opinions have shifted nationwide.

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