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Last summer, when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, compelling the federal government to confer the same benefits to same-sex married couples as it does to straight ones, no matter where they live, Meyers and Shelby started giving more consideration to hopping to one of the 17 states that have legalized marriage to have a ceremony performed.
“Now it would make sense,” Meyers said. “But we’re thinking we should wait.”
Wait for Arkansas, that is — although they acknowledge it may be a while yet.
Shelby and Meyers, like many LGBT couples in Arkansas, have put down roots and would prefer to get married in the community where they have made their home. Oddly enough, the state ranks in the top five for the proportion of same-sex couples who have children.
To that end, they are part of an ongoing lawsuit with nine other couples in Arkansas, arguing that the 2004 ban is unconstitutional. Another effort is also underway to put a repeal measure on the ballot in 2014 or 2016.
For now, it remains difficult to envision a world in which being completely open and honest about their relationship is possible. When Meyers, an amateur videographer, records church services from the back of the room, she notices couples with their arms around each other.
“I don’t even know what that would be like,” Shelby said. “All my life I’ve had to be a little quiet and be somewhat in the closet. So that’d be pretty cool — to not even have to worry about or think about it when you’re out — gosh, I want to hold her hand, but who’s around?”
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