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Arkansas

Ark. AG approves language for ballot proposal to legalize same-sex marriage

Thursday, November 7, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Thursday approved the wording of a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, clearing the way for supporters to begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the 2016 ballot.

McDaniel’s office certified the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality.

ArkansasMcDaniel’s certification is required before the group can pursue the 78,133 signatures from registered voters needed to place the proposal on the ballot.

“We’re all ready to go, full steam ahead,” said Jack Weir, the group’s founder, who said he hoped to begin gathering signatures soon.. “We couldn’t be more happy.”

The measure is the second gay marriage proposal recently certified by McDaniel’s office. In September, he approved the wording of a proposal a group wants to put on next year’s ballot that would repeal the state Constitution amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

That proposal, however, does not specifically call for legalizing gay marriage.

The proposal approved Thursday would also repeal the marriage amendment, which was approved by voters in 2004, and would instead recognize marriage as a “union between two people regardless of sex.” It would also prohibit county clerks from denying marriage licenses to couples based on their sex.

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Under the measure, clergy and religious organizations would not be obligated to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Weir said he planned to help the group trying to get the gay marriage ban repeal on the ballot next year while also gathering support for his 2016 proposal. McDaniel had rejected earlier versions of Weir’s proposal because it didn’t address the ban currently in the constitution.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort from our people and the newcomers we’ll have in the next three years,” he said. “I see people’s hearts and minds chang ing every time we go to an event and talk to people. I see a big change coming in Arkansas.”

Arkansas’ gay marriage ban was approved by 75 percent of voters in 2004. Same-sex couples have filed lawsuits this year in federal and state court challenging the ban.

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73 more reader comments:

  1. Arkansas will need a legal challenge. I’m not sure the majority of people there have grown up yet.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:09pm
  2. I hate to say but I think your right....too many back woods old testament slinging bigots

    Replied on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:18pm
  3. not every redneck is an ignorant backwoods bible thumper. but i do agree those that do fit that discription are a disgrace to this country.

    Replied on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:34pm
  4. Try living in north Carolina...

    Replied on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:34pm
  5. uh.. how about the legal challenge being discrimination of a minority is UNconstitutional.

    Replied on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:35pm
  6. I'm sure the closet case brigade will be out in force, drooling in their cups.

    Replied on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:36pm
  7. Texas is the same way. Redneck Bible thumpers.

    Replied on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:42pm
  8. Missouri is just as bad. They will be the 50th state to legalize marriage equality. I'm so sick of these backwards religious zealots controlling people's lives.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:14pm
  9. Arkansas?!?!

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:10pm
  10. My state

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:11pm
  11. Wow I didn’t think they had progressed that far yet. I will stay hopeful though. :)

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:13pm
  12. As an Arkansas resident, I’m not celebrating just yet. These redneck Bible thumpers are a force to be reckoned with!

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:13pm
  13. I live in the northern part of the state. I agree with u there. We will on fighting this though until it passes.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:53am
  14. Word.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:34am
  15. Gonna be a uphill battle for sure, the lottery took forever and people are still fighting that despite all the money its raising for scholarships

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 4:15am
  16. It would be nice to see Arkansas get ahead of the rest of the nation on something besides the teenage pregnancy rate.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 4:47am
  17. What about that EVIL MOTHERFUCKER MITT ROMNEY. I wish he gets a starving death.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:38am
  18. Well, I guess it's a good thing that Romney is irrelevant.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 9:32am
  19. Even Arkansas has same-sex marriage on the ballot. What’s up, Virginia?

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:13pm
  20. I applaud the effort. But I will be so shocked if it passes. :(

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:14pm
  21. Yeah I don’t see this happening unfortunately.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:17pm
  22. I’ll stay hopeful.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:22pm
  23. Will wonders never cease?

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:23pm
  24. If Hawaii is going to be #16… Could Arkansas be #17?

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:23pm
  25. New Mexico will be 17th, Michigan might be the 18th, Oregon will be 19th, and Ohio might become the 20th... and the court challenge in Virginia and Pennsylvania might be successful too considering that in Virginia we have a Governor who supports it and in Pennsylvania the AG define the ban as unconstitutional...

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 7:25am
  26. Yep the Tea Party will be putting that AG on their hit list now

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:26pm
  27. Brian Vann

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:27pm
  28. Stranger things have happened in places that seemed have seemed more homophobic. I hope it’s approved!

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:27pm
  29. Optimism. If it fails we will try again!

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:28pm
  30. It won’t happen this go round but it’s a start

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:32pm
  31. really? arkansas? theyve got more walmarts and churches than they do residents. Proud of them though for atleast taking the right steps.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:33pm
  32. very cool.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:34pm
  33. It’s a step in the right direction. I remember when they used to raid gay bars and haul everyone off to jail jut to harass them. Now the AG is approving language for SS marriage.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:41pm
  34. Come on Wisconsin! Even Arkansas is starting to out progress us. Damn you SW! Forward! Not lose 50 years!

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:44pm
  35. Doesn’t matter that it is Arkansas…The fact that the battle is being taken to the reddest of “red” states, means this: Very soon in the future, this will not be a states issue, rather, FEDERAL LAW. Fight all you want right wingers. Fair is, just that, fair.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:46pm
  36. I hope this works out.
    Side notebook; Kengi Stargazer, I love your Kenshin photo.

    Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 11:51pm
  37. Colorado: Can we work on make this happen here?

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:03am
  38. Step in the right direction!!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:10am
  39. No group should be able to say who has rights or who doesn’t have rights!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:13am
  40. Arkansas is not super red. Governor Bebe is a Democrat. Also Arkansas had a green party guy in the Arkansas house.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:16am
  41. …the f..k does “the Natural State” mean?

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:16am
  42. i was wondering the same thing.

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 2:24am
  43. Holy crap on a cracker that it even got this far in this state.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:29am
  44. Texas, if Arkansas beats you to this, I will have lost all respect for you.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:30am
  45. Arkansas is going to be a tough sell. We can only hope this will be first southern state to adopt equality. It’s all about doing whats right, not whats good for your party, or lobbyist.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:41am
  46. WOW! Arkansas!? really??? Surprising proud of the Clinton state!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:44am
  47. Definitely one of the states I thought would be last to do this. But it’s good to see a proposal at least.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:01am
  48. Hang in there…….let us pray for equality in this State

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:11am
  49. Arkansas is where the Beverly Hillbillies were from….many are like Jethro Bodine!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:13am
  50. I’m not holding my breath because of what state this is.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:49am
  51. hope they save their money and just let it pass

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:52am
  52. i have a feeling, that isn’t going over real BIG….with the BIBLE THUMPERS…..like with the DUGGARS/duggers :P

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 2:21am
  53. Hope yall pass it!!! Wish I was living in a state that supports it!! Rooting for ya!!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 2:51am
  54. I’d like Arkansas and some other states to legalise same-sex marriage. Just don’t give up. Keep fighting for your rights. Soon you’ll see that they are worth it. Here in my country we’ve been fighting for our rights too and finally in 2010 they were recognised. Warm hugs from Argentina.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:17am
  55. Awesome finally

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:22am
  56. I am originally from AR and I do not see this passing but if it does I know where I will be getting married at….now come on FL….and they call it the natural state because of all the beautiful area in the state.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:22am
  57. Wow. I’m speechless.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:27am
  58. As a Christian, I pray my home state does the right thing: PASS MARRIAGE EQUALITY!!!! Love is Love is Love. And any true LOVING God loves ever’body, y’all, including LGBTQ people who HE created!!!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:32am
  59. I used to live in Ark in Craighead County J.Town. These red neck bible thumpers there, are gonna fight this to the last breath..

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:35am
  60. I live in J town!

    Replied on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:40am
  61. I just read that & had to force my lower jaw shut! This hardcore straight ally is hoping it goes through!!!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:37am
  62. WOW BOUT TIME!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:55am
  63. i’ll stay being an optimist in here and hope that it pass…

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 5:57am
  64. I pray it passes but I live in Georgia and I know none of the states below the “Bible Belt” will ever pass this. I’d love to be able to marry the woman I’ve been with for 5 years legally. We’ve been together longer than alot of same sex couples I know.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:01am
  65. 70% of the Americans support GAY MARRIAGE so why do we even give a fuck about MOTHERFUCKERS like MITT ROMNEY. I hate MITT ROMNEY.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:35am
  66. Well it’s a surprising step in the right direction. Maybe it’s not “Marriage inequality now, marriage inequality forever??” One can only Hope. But there is Hope in Arkansas, just ask Bill Clinton.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:53am
  67. Well, at least it’s a start!

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 8:24am
  68. Wow, I am surprised! What’s next Oklahoma, Kansas? Come on Pennsylvania….

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:26pm
  69. There is hope for Arkansas… they released the West Memphis Three afterall…

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:53pm
  70. The simple fact that they are even allowing a ballot proposal is impressive. The country is changing faster than what most of us ever expected…. Meanwhile, I’ll stay in Massachusetts…

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:12pm
  71. ok is this for real?! ARK, what kind of a REAL chance does it have. Seriously now, come on ya’ll.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:22pm
  72. backward attitudes and holier than thou bible thumpers is why I left the state 22 years ago. I would love to see same sex marriage in Arkansas.

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 1:53pm
  73. Texas might be last, but I’m so happy to see more states in my country open to equality! #americaforequality

    Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 3:10pm