Yesterday, Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo exchanged vows in Eureka Springs--only a day after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
Judges in Utah, Virginia and other states have made similar rulings. However, unlike them, Piazza didn't issue a stay. That meant same-sex couples like Seaton and Rambo could get married right away. In contrast, couples in other states had to wait several weeks for their judge's rulings to take effect.
Arkansas thus becomes the third Southern state, and the first of the Confederacy, to legalize gay marriage. It also is now the first "Bible Belt" state to legalize same-sex unions.
What may be as significant as the facts I've just mentioned is that prior to Piazza's ruling, Eureka Springs was the only incorporated place in Arkansas to allow domestic partnerships. Other states, such as New York, legalized gay marriage after more than one municipality, or one very large city, made provisions for domestic partnerships.
Of course, there will be challenges to Piazza's ruling, as Arkansas voters voted overwhelmingly for the ban on gay marriage. Even the ruling is overturned, though, the battle is not lost: Increasing numbers of same-sex couples are raising children outside the urban gay meccas on the two coasts, and some people who claim to live by "family values" will put their money where their mouths are and put aside their prejudices so that children in same-sex couples will have access to the same things as kids with married heterosexual parents.
Plus, if you ask me, Ms. Seaton and Ms. Rambo sure look good together. (And each of them looks good, period.) Southern belles, wouldn't you say?