Same-sex couples raced to the county clerk's office in Eureka Springs, Ark., this morning to apply for -- and receive -- marriage licenses after a judge struck down the state's constitutional ban on marriage equality Friday.
A deputy county clerk initially refused to issue the licenses, telling the crowd that had gathered that she had not received guidance from her superiors on how to proceed in the wake of state judge Chris Piazza's Friday ruling that invalidated Arkansas' constitutional and statutory bans on same-marriage, reports the Arkansas Times. The state's attorney general plans to appeal the ruling, and has requested a stay on the order, but it has not yet been granted, according to the Associated Press.
After requesting guidance from the state's attorney general and not receiving a response, Deputy County Clerk Lana Gordon briefly closed the clerk's office, and police began to clear the courthouse.
But minutes later, deputy county clerk in-training Jane Osborne, told the crowd of 50-100 that she would be happy to issue marriage licenses to the same-sex couples gathered, according to theTimes. A conference call is scheduled for county clerks later this afternoon to discuss how other clerks should proceed. Most county clerks' offices are closed on weekends, but the Eureka Springs office, located in the Carroll County Western District Courthouse, generally holds Saturday hours where couples can receive marriage licenses.
The first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license was Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, according to the Times. Shortly after they received the marriage license, minister Laura Phillips performed a ceremony formally marrying the couple, who have been together for four years, according to the Times.
The county clerk's office is scheduled to stay open until 1 p.m. local time, meaning couples will presumably continue to receive marriage licenses into the afternoon. There is no waiting period to apply for a marriage license in Eureka Springs, and applicants need not be residents of the county or state, according to the city's official website.
Twitter was abuzz with photos of happy couples and equality supporters celebrating the first legal same-sex marriages to take place in the South. Take a look at some of those tweets below: