Officiants were busy performing weddings at the Pulaski County Courthouse on Monday, the first since a judge ruled Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - This argument over same-sex marriage in Arkansas is not over. Monday morning state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked the state Supreme Court to temporarily suspend the ruling and a stay of the judge's decision that declared the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional could come down as soon as Tuesday.
Even still, dozens of couples lined up at the Pulaski County Courthouse Monday to get marriage licenses before a stay or Supreme Court decision came down. With them were a handful of dedicated officiants who spent all day performing marriage ceremonies.
"It's been a day. A beautiful, beautiful day," said Joey Cole who has served as a wedding officiant for the last 10 years. Monday morning he performed his first same-sex marriage officially recognized by the state of Arkansas.
"It was fantastic," said Cole. "I was a little bit nervous, a little pressure which showed in my shaking hand as I signed the certificate but it was a great honor and they were so, so happy."
"I'm not sure who cried more. We all cried," said Julie Gerlinger, who also waited a long time for this day. "I got my minister's credentials in 2003 and one of the first things I said was 'I can't wait until I can do a wedding for a gay couple'… The love has just been incredible, and so it's been a real privilege to be here, I've had a wonderful time."
Randy Eddy-McCain also spent Monday marrying couples at the Pulaski County Courthouse. He married his husband two years ago in New York City but the proud Arkansan was elated knowing his home state will now acknowledge his own marriage.
"I've cried so much, then laughed so much. To see the families that were denied this right for so long," said Eddy-McCain. "I have that feeling and everyone here has that sense that we are a part of history being made here in Arkansas and I'm so proud that it's Arkansas because this is my home state that I love so much."
"To be the first southern state to approve same-sex marriage makes me really proud to be an Arkansan," added Cole. "To be born and raised here, I've never been prouder."
Both Cole and Gerlinger took their kids out of school Monday and brought them to the courthouse to witness what they called "history-in-the-making". All told, at the end of the day, Pulaski County processed a total of 170 marriages on Monday.