LGBTI campaigners in Arkansas welcomed the first same-sex weddings in the US’ traditional ‘Bible belt’ of conservative states last weekend.
However, celebrations in the southern state could be short lived with moves already afoot to nullify the nuptials.
“This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality,” wrote Piazza in his ruling.
“The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent.”
An Arkansas Deputy Clerk subsequently issued a marriage licence on Saturday morning to Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo in Fort Smith in the west of the state, becoming the first of 15 couples to wed.
However, the state’s top lawmaker, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has said an appeal will be lodged with the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
If the appeal fails, Arkansas will become the 18th state to legalise same-sex marriage.
In 2004, Arkansas voters overwhelming voted against same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Cubans celebrated the country’s seventh annual pride march in the nation’s capital Havana on Saturday.
Up to 500 people waved the rainbow flag, reported Reuters, celebrating key advances in LGBTI rights while noting that civil unions, let alone gay marriage, were still some way off.
Opinions began to alter in the traditionally-conservative Caribbean state after former leader, Fidel Castro, said he had been wrong in discriminating against gay people following the 1959 Communist revolution.
Daughter of current President Raul Castro and one of the country’s foremost LGBTI activists, Mariela Castro, bemoaned the slow progress of change.
“Even though there is a revolution, the consciousness has not changed fast enough among many revolutionaries,” she said.
“We have to build a consensus, and that’s what we’re working toward.”
Cuba has enacted legislation banning workplace discrimination against LGBTI people and has legalised sex change surgery.
Despite its lack of civil unions, Cuba is still ahead of many Caribbean nations when it comes to LGBTI rights.
Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua, among others have laws that homosexuality, with only the overseas dependencies of the Netherlands and France allowing same-sex marriage.
Main image: Jennifer Rambo, right, smiles as her partner Kristin Seaton, centre, hugs Sheryl Maples, left, the lead attorney who filed the lawsuit that eventually overturned amendment Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban (Source: NBC News)
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