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Thursday, October 02, 2014, 8:23 a.m.
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Last same-sex marriage license issued in Pulaski County

By Lisa Burnett

This article was published May 16, 2014 at 6:16 p.m.

Hilda Jones and Kerin Hartsell embrace Friday afternoon, May 16, 2014, after being issued a marriage license at the Pulaski County Courthouse just moments before the state Supreme Court stayed a ruling that overturned the state's ban on gay marriages.

Chidester couple receives last same-sex marriage license in Pulaski County

Hilda Jones and Kerin Hartsell of Chidester were the last same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Pulaski County on Friday. The two women have been together for almost 11 years. (By Lisa Burnett)
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Hilda Jones and Kerin Hartsell of Chidester arrived at the Pulaski County Courthouse with only minutes to spare.

The two women were issued a marriage license at 4:30 p.m. — the same time the state Supreme Court granted an emergency stay of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's ruling that overturned the state's ban on gay marriage, temporarily halting counties from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending appeal.

"We just wanted to get married," Jones said. "We were just desperate to get here."

The couple said they sped to the courthouse to get their license before the stay was issued.

"We were very fortunate," Hartsell said. "But, I do think about the others who didn't make it on time, but I'm hoping that will change."

The women said they have been together for almost 11 years and were surprised when Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled to overturn the state's constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

"We never expected that in the state of Arkansas," Hartsell said. "We're Razorback fans, and today, we're very proud of Arkansas."

The couple hasn't decided if they are going to change their names just yet, but they are planning a celebration Friday night with friends.

"We want to be together and want to be treated equally," Jones said.

Information for this article was contributed by Arkansas Online reporter Gavin Lesnick.

Comments on: Last same-sex marriage license issued in Pulaski County

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

Packman says... May 16, 2014 at 8:13 p.m.

There are gay people in Chidester? Who would have ever known?????

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djigoo says... May 16, 2014 at 9:14 p.m.

Bigots like Pathetickman are dinosaurs. The meteor has crashed; his brand of hate shall be rightfully relegated to the steaming miasma that is Arkansas's sorry record where human rights are concerned. Dinosaurs like Pack are all but dead.

What a great time to be moving back home to Arkansas!

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Populist says... May 16, 2014 at 9:19 p.m.

djigoo,

The Arkansas Supreme Court consists of older people from small towns in Arkansas. I don't think that this is looking good. I expect another regressive ruling which will enforce Arkansas' reputation as an intolerant state.

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arkateacher54_aol.com says... May 16, 2014 at 9:25 p.m.

This is so stupid. It's legal - it's not legal - it's legal - it's not legal. How can the licenses issued to gay couples these last few days possibly be valid? What say we go with the will of the people as expressed through the general assembly and not the will of Chris Piazza.

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djigoo says... May 16, 2014 at 9:35 p.m.

Populist, I can live with Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

And I fully intend to turn those Two Steps into Three, after we relocate to La Petite Roche this summer.

Holy crap, this is gonna be fun!

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Osage says... May 17, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.

Welcome home Dingypoo, now that you are back, you should help out in the fight to save the Buffalo National River AGAIN! Send money, call, write, anything to help.

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BirdDogsRock says... May 20, 2014 at 10:23 a.m.

@ arkateacher54: I surely hope you are not really a teacher, especially a teacher of American Government or history. But if you are a teacher here, that would help explain the sorry state of education in Arkansas. You apparently understand nothing about the US Constitution, nor of the details about this issue. One of the very basic reasons the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights exists is to protect minorities from the tyranny of the 75% of the people in Arkansas who voted to discriminate against fellow US citizens who happen to be part of a disliked minority. It doesn't matter if 99% of the people in Arkansas voted to discriminate against gay people, the US Constitution would still protect the rights of the persecuted minority.

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