Same-sex couples receive marriage licenses in Pulaski County

PULASKI COUNTY (KATV)--History is made here in Arkansas after dozens of gay couples get married in Pulaski County.{}More than 150 marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples. Hundreds began waiting at the Pulaski County Courthouse hours before it opened, whether it was to finally get married or support loved ones. Statewide and national attention has been brought to Arkansas, as we are not only the 18th state to allow same-sex marriage but the 1st in the south.{}Dozens of gay and lesbian couples said "I Do" in Pulaski County on Monday. This after Circuit Judge Chris Piazza tossed out Arkansas' gay marriage ban after business hours on Friday. "Arkansas has always been a progressive state moving forward with the equality and this is just another step so it shows the world that we may be from the natural state, but we are moving forward," said Thomas Baldwin, who married Devin Rudeseal. Mr. and Mr. Baldwin were the second same-sex couple to be married, while many more awaited their license. "We've been waiting 10 years for this day to happen so we're very happy to be here and it's a joyous occasion for us," said James Porter, marrying Shon DeArmon. While not everyone agreed with this milestone, those against it protested peacefully. "A real travesty for Arkansas for a judiciary member to take in hand the legislative and the executive branches and give credence to what is against Arkansas law," said Bishop Robert E. Smith, Total Outreach for Christ. However, different views didn't stop the same-sex couples from enjoying their day and mark of triumph."We knew it would happen someday," said DeArmon. "We knew it would be a fight, but we've come a long way," added Porter. "I'm surprised it took this long," said Robert Loyd. "And I'm surprised this happen, like I said I've been fighting for this for 45 years," added John Schenck. Both Loyd and Schenck have been together for 40 years. They got married in Canada in 2004, and are in charge of the Conway Pride Parade in Conway. Other counties issuing licenses included Saline, Marion and Washington Counties.{}Over the weekend, Carroll County issued licenses, but stopped on Monday without any further explanation.{}Faulkner County has decided not to issue them.