Craighead Co. clerk among those not issuing same sex-marriage licenses

Published: May. 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday released a statement Monday, indicating the county will not issue same-sex marriage licenses.

The statement issued Monday morning listed three main reasons for the decision. Holliday said for one, Craighead County was not named as a defendant in the ruling by a Pulaski County judge last week. Holliday said it is "unclear" if the ruling in central Arkansas applies to all 75 counties in the state.

For one Region 8 couple, Monday was a disappointment. They were hoping to get a marriage license.

"We waited a long time and we're going to keep waiting as long as we have to," said Dalton Ellison.

Ellison and Rocky Equia are one of many same-sex couples in Arkansas.

"We decided that we would try to get our marriage license now that it's finally legal in Arkansas," Ellison said.

So they walked inside the clerk's office to make it official, but were turned away.

"It's really disappointing because I know it's up to the counties the excuse being that they're waiting to be told by Little Rock," Ellison said."We're not going to give up because one clerk says no and nobody else should either."

Holliday and other county clerks in northeast Arkansas said they want to hold off issuing licenses to have more time to prepare.

"We're going to let them know that we're not able to issue them today due to the fact that our software is not gender neutral currently," he said.

Poinsett County Clerk Fonda Condra said same-sex couples in her county cannot get a marriage license either. Condra said the county system doesn't support same-sex entries.

"We are going to go ahead and start the processes of upgrading our software to be able to issue them in the future," Holliday told Region 8 News.

Holliday noted the county does not want to issue licenses that may be considered invalid because it may result in the loss of license cost. A marriage license costs $60.

Holliday stated, "Ultimately, we are making the necessary preparations to be able to issue same sex marriage licenses if it is determined we are to do so; however, we are currently choosing to wait to ensure that we are able to issue fully legal documents and to ensure that we are operating within the letter of the law as is our legal obligation to the people and the state."

Region 8 News contacted several other counties in northeast Arkansas on the issue.

Counties that have said no besides Craighead include: Baxter, Clay, Crittenden, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp, Stone, White and Woodruff.

Counties waiting to hear back from legal counsel on the issue include: Cross, Fulton and St. Francis.

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