LITTLE ROCK — The Van Buren county clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply, a worker in the office said Wednesday, a day after County Clerk Pam Bradford said the office would turn same-sex couples away.

LITTLE ROCK — The Van Buren county clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply, a worker in the office said Wednesday, a day after County Clerk Pam Bradford said the office would turn same-sex couples away.


"Even though we may not agree personally, it has been ruled the law and there is no way around it, so we will be issuing the licenses," said the worker, who declined to give her name.


On Tuesday, Bradford advised other county clerks via email that she and her office would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, if any applied. She said she believed the U.S. Supreme Court had overstepped its boundaries in legalizing same-sex marriage and that being compelled to issue the licenses would violate her religious beliefs and her First Amendment rights.


The reversal of Bradford’s position came Wednesday after discussions with a lawyer, the unidentified worker said. She said Bradford was not available for further comment.


Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Association of Arkansas Counties have advised county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply. Dana Guffey resigned as Cleburne County clerk on June 30 to avoid having to issue licenses to gay couples.


Scott Perkins, spokesman for the Association of Arkansas Counties, said Wednesday the association was not aware of any other county clerks who had taken a position against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.


Cheryl Maples, attorney for a group of Arkansas couples who successfully challenged the state’s same-sex marriage ban, said Wednesday of the second statement from Bradford’s office, "I’m glad that she is going to abide by the law. That’s what her job is."


Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "It’s too bad they have to put that caveat on it, but I’m glad they’re following the law. I think other counties should see this as a cautionary tale."


Sklar said "expensive litigation" would have resulted if Bradford had not reversed her position.


Before Bradford changed her position, she drew praise from some opponents of gay marriage. Jerry Cox, president of the Christian conservative Family Council, issued a statement Wednesday "applauding" Bradford for taking a stand against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and state Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, tweeted that she was "proud" of Bradford and Guffey.