- Associated Press - Friday, May 16, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - If they had been stuck in traffic for 6 more minutes on their way to Little Rock, Hilda Jones and Kerin Hartsell would have missed their chance to wed in Arkansas on Friday.

With a sense of relief, the couple embraced and wept Friday - not knowing whether their union, and 540 others just like it, will withstand the scrutiny of the state’s highest court. They were the last same-sex couple to receive their marriage license in Pulaski County, where more than half of the certificates had been granted.

“We worry what the final say of the Arkansas Supreme Court will be,” Jones said. “I’m just ready to go home and live my life and be able to say that we’re legally married.”

Work had prevented Jones, 43, and Hartsell, 49, from marrying earlier this week. Both work full-time in Chidester, a small Arkansas town of nearly 300 people - Jones as a nurse and Hartsell as a landscaper. Friday had been the only day the couple could make the 2½ hour trek to the state’s capital city.

But on their way to Little Rock, they ran into issues - traffic, parking and not knowing where the Pulaski County Courthouse was.

“When we got there and the lady said you have 6 minutes - we were like ‘Oh my gosh!’” Jones said. “It was very emotional. The drive, nerve-wracking.”

Jones hopes the Arkansas Supreme Court’s final word is in the favor of the couple, who have been together for nearly 11 years.

“I just hope they look at everything and the appeals process and understand that Judge (Chris) Piazza was very fair in his ruling and that it’s the right thing to do.”

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Follow Christina Huynh on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ckhuynh.

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