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Ark. AG rejects language of proposed repeal of anti-gay marriage amendment

Friday, July 12, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ attorney general rejected a proposal Friday to repeal the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage, saying the ballot measure’s wording could mislead voters into believing it would automatically legalize same-sex unions.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told Arkansans for Equality, which wants to put the measure on the ballot for the general election in 2014, that it needs to rework the wording.

Atty. General Dustin McDaniel (D-Ark.)

The proposal must be certified by McDaniel’s office before the group can begin gathering the 78,133 signatures from registered voters needed to win a spot on the ballot.

Judd Mann, the co-chairman of Arkansans for Equality said he wasn’t surprised by McDaniel’s rejection since ballot measures are rarely approved on first submission. Mann said the group would work on a revised proposal that he hoped to submit next week.

“We’re actually excited,” Mann said. “We feel like this is a step in the right direction.”

The proposal calls for repealing a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2004 that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. McDaniel noted that state law also bars gay marriages and would still be in place if the group’s amendment was approved.

“A voter might mistakenly interpret the repeal of Amendment 83 as having the immediate effect of sanctioning same-sex marriage. Your proposed ballot title is therefore inherently misleading,” McDaniel wrote.

The proposal was filed June 27, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and opening the door for California to resume same-sex marriages.

A separate group has proposed a measure for the 2016 ballot that would specifically legalize gay marriage in the state. That one states that the right to marry shall not be abridged or denied on account of gender and sexual orientation. The measure would not require churches or religious organizations to perform gay marriages. McDaniel has not responded to that proposal yet.

Arkansas’ gay marriage ban was approved by 75 percent of voters in 2004. A group of 11 gay couples have filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Court aimed at overturning the gay marriage ban.

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6 more reader comments:

  1. Being a former gay resident i knew someone would find a way to keep hate alive.

    Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 10:19pm
  2. Discrimination continues in Arkansas………………He can have an affair on his wife with another woman but will strike down the possibility for me to marry the person who I have been in a monogamous relationship with. Got to love the political BS!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 10:22pm
  3. Would we expect any less?

    Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 10:23pm
  4. I think repealing the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage is completely ridiculous, to be honest. Either legalize it completely, or not at all. Banning the ban on it doesn´t do a damn thing and just wastes everyone´s time.

    Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 11:03pm
  5. I hope it will be completely Legalized in the state….as is my hope for ALL states in the US.
    I find it extremely ironic when people state the infamous “you cannot ´change´ the definition of marriage” argument. Especially when legislators claim it will open the door to polygamy. Lol. Interesting, since their very argument which uses “God´s word” or rather Their interpretation of it….polygamy was “normal”…esp in Biblical times. And there are numerous examples and stories in the Bible, depicting plural marriage. So, wasn´t the “definition” of marriage changed when they decided to outlaw plural marriage….Even more importantly, the Bible doesn´t actually have a “definition of marriage”….unless you want to go by the guidelines that marriage was more about Property…a “wife” was her husband´s “property”. This is true not just “in biblical times”, but remained the case until not that long ago. Until women were no longer considered property and were given equal rights as human beings themselves. So, once again…one could argue the “definition” of marriage was “changed” at that time too. Though, in truth, there has never been one…again, unless you want to go back to “property” laws.
    In the end, None of that should matter anyway. As our laws our go governed by the Constitution…not the Bible, or any other religious text, nor ANY religion whatsoever.
    Why that is a difficult concept for some to grasp (especially by any lawmakers) is beyond me. And frankly, quite strange.

    Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 11:04pm
  6. are they still marrying cousins?

    Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 2:11pm