Pleasant Plains discusses ‘use of community center’ after same-sex couple weds

Pleasant Plains discusses ‘use of community center’ after same-sex couple weds

PLEASANT PLAINS, Ark. (KAIT) - Pleasant Plains city officials met for their regular city council meeting on Tuesday, but this time in front of its largest crowd.

Many attended over the same concern, a same-sex couple being married at the city’s community center.

“A community center is to be used for any and all activities that are legal in the community,” Amy Rice said.

On Oct. 18, Rice officiated a same-sex marriage at the community center and now some are asking for the community center to ban all weddings.

For $125, anyone can rent out the community center for their birthday party, community event or wedding.

Once the event ends and the venue is cleaned, renters get back $100. The center uses the other $25 for maintenance and bills.

“They’re [the couple] not from here. I’m from here and I suggested it because I knew this community, so I thought would be open arms about it,” Rice said.

Two citizens were allotted time to speak to the council about the use of the center.

One being Rice and the other was Clint McCance.

Region 8 News reported on McCance when he resigned back in 2010 from the Midland School Board after he posted anti-gay comments to his page.

He didn't show up for the meeting, forfeiting his time.

Region 8 News reached out to McCance and he said he can not comment on Tuesday night's meeting because he was not there.

The mayor brought in an attorney to clarify the U.S. Constitution and Arkansas law for everyone.

“Denying same-sex couples the use and enjoyment of the community center would be discriminatory and it would violate the LGBTQ community’s rights,” Blair and Stroud Attorney Alexandra Chunn said.

The council then unanimously voted to allow the community center to be open to everyone in the community.

Rice just wants the city to be united.

“It’s [the community center] still a safe place and I am sure that our mayor will continue to abide by the laws and continue to make it a safe space,” Rice said

One Pleasant Plains native drove from Memphis, Tenn. to attend the meeting and she’s worried about the city's future.

“My concern is the message this sends to vulnerable children and adults who might be thinking am I welcomed here, is this a place I could be safe?," Edit Love said. "The message that was given in tonight’s meeting was overwhelming, we are behind the law and the law says you will be protected, you will be safe. So, I’m satisfied tonight.”

The mayor said he hopes the community can move forward because although it is a small community, it’s one with a big heart.

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