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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vows: Jay Barth and Chuck Cliett

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 12:43 PM

WED: Jay Barth (left) and Chuck Cliett.
  • WED: Jay Barth (left) and Chuck Cliett were married in New York March 14.

I've mentioned before that because the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and its affiliated newspapers in Northwest Arkansas won't publish marriage announcements by same-sex couples, the Arkansas Times is happy to provide that service.

I am particularly happy to do so today because the announcement is that of friends — Jay Barth, the Hendrix professor and Arkansas Times contributor, and Chuck Cliett, a lawyer and colleague of mine on the board of the Fred Darragh Foundation. Their announcement, in the fashion given similarly high profile unions in the New York Times:

Walker Jay Barth and Charles Buren Cliett, Jr. of Little Rock, Arkansas, were married March 18 by Susan N. Herman, president of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union on which Dr. Barth serves as Arkansas affiliate representative, at a private residence in Brooklyn. A reception dinner followed at Seersucker, the Brooklyn restaurant owned by Arkansas-born chef Robert Newton.

A blessing of the civil marriage will be performed by the Rev. Scott Walters at Christ Episcopal Church in Little Rock on April 14.

Dr. Barth, 45, is M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics and director of civic engagement projects at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He graduated from Hendrix College magna cum laude and received a master's degree and PhD in political science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is co-author of the most recent edition of Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule? (University of Nebraska Press, 2005).

Barth is the son of Jayme Lynette Barth of Little Rock. Ms Barth, who is retired, was a computer programmer for various companies including Dillard’s department stores.

Mr. Cliett, 51, is an attorney specializing in insurance regulatory law and a partner in the law firm of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard in Little Rock. He graduated from Mississippi State University cum laude and received his JD, with honors, from The University of Texas at Austin.

Cliett is a son of Grace Campbell Cliett and the late Dr. Charles Buren Cliett of West Point, Mississippi. Ms. Cliett, who is retired, worked in county government for manyyears, also serving on the Board of the West Point Housing Authority. Dr. Cliett was professor and head of the Aerospace Engineering Department at Mississippi State University for 25 years.

Cliett and Barth met in 2000 on the blind half of a double date set up by a mutual friend when Dr. Barth was visiting Austin, where Mr. Cliett then lived. They immediately bonded during an afternoon road trip to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Ranch outside Austin. The two political junkies remember sharing laughs about
double-edged observations in First Lady Barbara Bush’s memoir for sale at the Ranch’s bookstore. They then began a long-distance relationship that lasted until 2002 when Mr. Cliett relocated to Little Rock.

I think I should add that landmark litigation continues today on efforts to give the full measure of legal protection to those same-sex couples married in states such as Massachusetts and New York.

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