Existing same-sex marriage licenses in Ark. ruled legal

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A Pulaski County judge ruled more than 500 Arkansas same-sex marriages valid on Tuesday. These couples will now have benefits they didn't think possible before.

"We all knew we were legally married, but to know that the state can no longer refuse to recognize us, it's priceless," said Angelia Frazier-Henson, who married her wife Cathy last year.

The two were married on May 12, just days after Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza ruled the ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

"It was bittersweet that we were forced to get married in that atmosphere, but we also had a very loving- an experience most people will never have," Frazier-Henson said.

But just four days later, the state Supreme Court stopped the distribution of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Attorney Cheryl Maples has represented several clients in a lawsuit against state.

"The only other alternative is for everyone to get married again," she said.

But on Tuesday, 14 months after that Supreme Court decision, a new decision was made by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen. All marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples from May 10 to May 16 are now valid. That means more than 500 couples can file joint income tax returns, state health insurance applications and be listed on a child's birth certificate.

"I think that the law and equity and justice is on our side," Maples said.

But even amidst a victory, Frazier-Henson said the fight is far from over.

"We're hoping that a ruling from SCOTUS means that the Supreme Court will finally stop playing games with our lives," Frazier-Henson said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is still listening to arguments on same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Related Links:

Judge: Arkansas must recognize in-state same-sex marriages

Timeline: Same-sex marriage in Arkansas

US judge won't lift stay in Arkansas gay marriage lawsuit


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