Same-sex couple gets to say "I do" after 17 years

Same-sex couple gets to say "I do" after 17 years

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - At last count, 400 same-sex couples flocked to the few counties that were issuing marriage licenses to say their "I do's".

Steve Jenkins and Kevin Newberry were one of nearly 120 same-sex couples to tie the knot today.

Their marital status could be in jeopardy though, as the Supreme Court must now weigh in on the same-sex marriage issue.

But Jenkins and Newberry tell Region 8 News they're not worried.

"How are you going to tell 200-300 couples that they're really not married?" Steve Jenkins said.

The couple has been together since 1997 but unlike other couples who have been together for a long time, they've never been able to get married in their home state.

"We work, we pay taxes, we have the right to vote. We should be able to be happy, just like anyone else," Jenkins told Region 8 News.

"That's what we have strived for and fought for the past 17 years," Newberry said.

So when Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza rejected a voter approved ban against same sex marriage, the couple knew exactly where their next stop would be.

"I text him immediately and said "we need to go to Eureka tomorrow," Jenkins said.

"The following day was supposed to be our family reunion. I skipped the family reunion to drive four and a half hours to try and get married...that's how important it is," Newberry said.

Though they went to Carroll County Saturday, Jenkins said they didn't make it in time.

That didn't stop them though. Steve and Kevin were able to tie the knot Tuesday morning in Little Rock.

It's a moment they say their friends in same-sex relationships had to drive out of state to have.

"And now they're going to be jealous of us because we're actually legally married in Arkansas."

And they have the certificate to prove it.

Newberry said no matter what decision the Supreme Court comes back with,

"Right now, we are married and at some point, down the line, whether it's this week or next year or within the next 10 years, it's going to be legal forever in the state," Newberry said.

Five counties were issuing licenses following Judge Piazza's ruling but as of Tuesday, Pulaski and Washington counties are the only ones still doing so.

The other three county clerks say they're now waiting on the Supreme Court to weigh in.

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