State Leader Calls Same Sex Marriage Decision 'Surprising'

State Leader Calls Same Sex Marriage Decision 'Surprising'

Late Friday afternoon a Pulaski County judge ruled the same-sex marriage ban in Arkansas unconstitutional.
CONWAY, AR -- Some Arkansas leaders say the judge who struck down the gay marriage ban should lose his job.

We talked to both sides of the debate today.

John Schenck and Robert Loyd say they married each other six times.

However, the two say they're marriage hasn't been recognized in the state of Arkansas.

But after Judge Chris Piazza ruled the same sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, they're hopeful things will change.

The reporter asked Loyd, "What were you thinking when you read through that?"

He said, "I was thinking it's been worth it."

Schenck and Loyd were vital in helping to bring the first Pride Parade to Conway ten years ago.

The two say they've been fighting for equality ever since.

Schenck said, "If Robert and I had not done that first Pride Parade, we would not be celebrating same-sex marriage in Arkansas."

But not everyone is celebrating.

Senator Jason Rapert said, "I am actually surprised."

He believes this ruling goes against the Declaration of Independence as 75% of Arkansans voted -- in 2004 -- marriage is between a man and woman.

Senator Rapert says the judge -- in the case -- should be held accountable.

He said, "I have been contacted today by other legislators that would seek to start impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives against Judge Chris Piazza."

But Schenck and Loyd say they'll continue to celebrate a victory decades in the making.

Loyd said, "It's making a real impact. It's taken a long time to make one, but now I see things brighter than I ever have before."

The Attorney General's Office did appeal the judge's ruling stating a same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

The Office also submitted to the court a motion for emergency stay, to keep the ban in effect until the Supreme Court can make a ruling on the issue.

Counties across the state now have to make sense of what they're allowed, required or expected to do as same sex couples make requests for a marriage licenses.

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