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Friday, December 19, 2014, 8:23 p.m.
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Gay couples marry, wary ruling might be frozen

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published May 14, 2014 at 9:08 a.m. Updated May 14, 2014 at 10:51 a.m.

heather-linton-left-and-laura-hightower-are-married-wednesday-by-pulaski-county-circuit-judge-morgan-welch

Heather Linton, left, and Laura Hightower are married Wednesday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan Welch.

Same-sex weddings resumed Wednesday in Pulaski County Circuit Court, where several couples tied the knot ahead of a possible stay that could halt the practice.

By 8:30 a.m., five couples had applied for marriage licenses at the clerk's office and then sought a quick ceremony with an officiant in the rotunda or with a judge in chambers.

Heather Linton, 29, and Laura Hightower, 26, were married by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan Welch after arriving before the clerk's office opened at 8 a.m.

Linton said the couple made the 9 1/2-hour drive from their home in Roswell, Ga., after getting off work Tuesday and realizing there could be a stay at any time of the Friday ruling in Pulaski County that opened the door for gay marriages in the state.

"It was a very anxious drive," Linton said. "I was afraid we'd get there at 8:01 a.m. and they'd say 'no more.'"

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Tuesday had received a motion from the Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office seeking a stay and a response from the plaintiff's in the lawsuit that resulted in the Friday ruling. McDaniel's office submitted the court a response on Wednesday reiterating its desire for a stay.

It's unclear when a decision will come.

Also marrying Wednesday were Dennis Smith, 51, and Curtis Creamer, 47, both of Jonesboro.

Creamer said they preferred having a large ceremony with family present, but the looming possibility of a stay motivated them to drive to Little Rock for a brief ceremony in Welch's chambers.

"We were wanting kids and everyone with us," Creamer said. "But we knew we were cutting it close."

Smith and Creamer, who have been together nine years, returned their signed license to the clerk's office before 9 a.m. and left the building together legally married.

Smith said he's confident same-sex marriage will ultimately be legal regardless of the possible stay or the outcome of the Arkansas court case.

"Whether it happens today, next week or next year, it will eventually be able to happen," he said.

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outinthesticks says... May 14, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.

"What has happened to separation of state and church? It seems to me that a lot of people have issue with this because of church and what they believe." Ummm, Chickadee, why wouldn't they? If you say you believe something and don't stand for it, then you really don't believe it, no matter what religion you are. I'll get slammed as a hypocrite for saying this, but so be it. I don't hate bank robbers. I hate their crimes. I don't hate gays, either, but I don't condone their lifestyle. I have a gay relative in my family, too. I don't care what the state or judge or Supreme Court says, I personally don't have to accept that these people are married, because they are not according to my beliefs. But that is my opinion, and no one else has to accept it. I have the same concerns as others, legally...where does this stop? Is polygamy next? Beastailty? Don't say it can't happen, many people said this would never happen. I learned a long time ago to never say never.

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behindthescenes2 says... May 14, 2014 at 1:32 p.m.

Homosexuality exists in the animal kingdom and is nothing more than biological differences in genetic programming. Every gay man I have ever asked has had the same answer, no man would choose to be gay. Imagine the anguish gay teenagers experience when they have families that do not understand and shame them. We have evolved to know that discrimination on the basis of skin color is wrong, so is anti-gay behavior. Two generations from now society will look back and wonder how people could have been so ignorant as we do now in regard to slavery and Jim Crow.

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SHEILA.MCCOOL336 says... May 14, 2014 at 2:32 p.m.

@don'tcallmenames, I have a lot of trouble with your statement, you see, I got out my marriage license from 30 years ago, and no where on it did it ask me or my husband if we had the "right equipment" to marry! Isn't basically what you were saying, even though you did say it very eloquently. It matters not how you say things, it just matters what you say. These gay couples are not hurting you or anyone else. They have been together for up to 30 years rearing their children in all of our neighborhoods and you never said a thing until they wanted to make it legal! Please get over your selves and if you can't wish them the best, just don't say anything.

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nwar says... May 14, 2014 at 2:43 p.m.

What a shame that the Voices page today is filled with the vitriol of hateful people who call themselves Christians. But can't say I'm surprised.

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outinthesticks says... May 14, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.

Be careful in that glass house, nwar.

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MuleriderRob says... May 14, 2014 at 4:47 p.m.

Brad, what planet did you come from. While we may agree that there is separation of church and state, this country was founded on Biblical principals and no where in the Bible is there any mention of gay marriage. And you are right, I don't have to be politically correct. If you are for gay marriage, go to another state. This judge may want to consider moving because his career is over.

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bwilkerson1803111047 says... May 14, 2014 at 5:53 p.m.

As an Arkansan, born and bred, let me say I am delighted that Ark. has become state No. 17 to legalize same sex marriage. Who would have thought that a Bible-belt state would come on board so early in the line up! Although I am confident that in my life-time it will be the law-of-the-land, I had always thought that Ark., Tex., GA, LA, MS, and AL would be the last six of the 50 to make it so.

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GrimReaper says... May 14, 2014 at 10:20 p.m.

There will be no "separation of church and state" in the Millennial Kingdom!

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