Same-sex marriage licenses were issued for a second day in a row at the Pulaski County courthouse Tuesday as couples from around Arkansas and out of state got married ahead of a possible stay that could at least temporarily halt the ceremonies.
The marriages resumed in Pulaski County even as Saline County stopped issuing licenses to same-sex couples a day after offering them.
About a dozen couples were in line at the Pulaski County clerk's office when it began issuing licenses at 8 a.m., and 18 had sought licenses by 8:30 a.m.
Terri Langley-Weber, 56, and Lisa Weber, 50, were married in a quick ceremony just down the hall from the clerk's office. Both were in tears as they exchanged rings and vows and were legally married by Julie Gerlinger, a volunteer officiant who performed 40 marriages Monday at the courthouse.
Langley-Weber and Weber drove all night from Houston, Texas, arriving at their Little Rock hotel with time enough only to shower before heading to the courthouse a few hours before it opened.
It was tense waiting and not being sure same-sex marriages would resume, Langley-Weber said. The Arkansas Supreme Court received a motion from the attorney general's office seeking a stay of the Friday ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza that overturned Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriages, and it wasn't clear when a decision would be made. It wasn't expected, though, before noon Tuesday when a response motion is due.
Langley-Weber said the couple is confident same-sex marriages will ultimately be legal as court cases like Arkansas' progress.
"You have a clear understanding if voters aren't going to do it, you go to the courts," she said.
The couple will stay in town a few days to celebrate their marriage and to sightsee.
"And to say 'thank you' to Little Rock," Langley-Weber added.
Gerlinger married several other couples Tuesday morning in quick, no-frills ceremonies that she advertised as taking "45 seconds" and were sometimes a little quicker.
Two other officiants on hand were offering slightly longer, but still brief, ceremonies in the courthouse rotunda. Gerlinger said she wanted to offer couples a wedding as quickly as possible knowing the stay could potentially come down at any time.
"It's terrifying and it's exhilarating," she said, tears in her eyes after leading the emotional ceremony with Langley-Weber and Weber. "But I feel so privileged to be a part of it."
Carol and Ranee Owens, both of Little Rock, were married in the rotunda in a ceremony that took only a few minutes.
It came about two years after they underwent a commitment ceremony together.
"We knew we would be together forever," Ranee Owens said. "Now we're legal."