Robert Loyd and John Schenck of Conway spent the first weekday after the ban on same sex marriages was struck down in nearby Pulaski County. They weren’t applying for a license. They were merely showing support for others.
Loyd and Schenck were married in Canada in 2004, and Loyd believes that through the ruling, they are legally recognized in Arkansas, despite a decision by Faulkner County to not issue same sex marriage licenses.
"We weren’t going to get anything from Pulaski County today," Loyd said. "We are in Conway. We have been here for 28 years, and we have seen it at its worst. We are still waiting for it at its best."
But Loyd pointed out that he wanted to share the joy that many felt while getting their own licenses Monday morning in Little Rock.
"It was a mob," he said. "It was wonderful."
The courthouse in Faulkner County was quiet after a statement from Faulkner County Attorney David Hogue relayed the message that the county would not issue licenses until the matter is resolved at the state Supreme Court level.
Although Loyd said he and Schenck had already been legally married and that he didn’t put much stock into marriage as an institution, they were one of 22 couples who had sued to overturn the 2004 law.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza tossed out Arkansas’ gay marriage ban after business hours Friday, setting up Monday’s run on courthouses in Little Rock and Fayetteville as same-sex marriage arrived in the Bible Belt. As he arrived at work Monday, Piazza walked up to a colleague performing same-sex weddings in the courthouse rotunda and shook his hand. Piazza declined to talk to reporters.
"I have already spoken my opinion," Piazza said.
Loyd said that a rally had previously been planned in Faulkner County before the events occurred, and he said he is sad that his hometown is "too bigoted" to abide by Piazza’s ruling.
Loyd and Schenck have been integral parts of Conway’s Pride Parade, which has been around more than a decade. The parade will be held on Sunday, June 1.