Arkansas Gay Marriage Ban Repeal Rejected by Democratic Attorney General

By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
July 16, 2013|1:17 pm

Arkansas' Attorney General has rejected a ballot proposal slated for 2014 which, if voted by a majority, would repeal the state's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel reportedly wrote in his opinion that the proposal had misleading tendencies and did not abide by the state Supreme Court's requirement of impartiality.

McDaniel added to the pro-gay marriage group "Arkansans for Equality" that it could submit another proposal seeking to overturn the state's Amendment 83 that was approved by a majority of voters in 2004, and bans state recognition of same-sex unions.

"Specifically, rather than simply describing Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution [the amendment proposed to be repealed], your proposed ballot title asserts an abridgment of undefined 'rights' and seems to presume Amendment 83′s illegality in terms of federal law and the laws of other states," the opinion read.

"It is conclusory and partisan to assert that Amendment 83 'limits' Arkansans' 'rights' and 'prevents federal laws […] being applied in a consistent manner,'" the opinion said.

"To use such terms and phrases is to promote by implication, not to summarize, a proposal. As a consequence, the proposed ballot title has misleading tendencies and fails to meet the Arkansas Supreme Court's requirement of impartiality," the opinion added.

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According to The Associated Press, a separate pro-same-sex marriage group, the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality, also submitted a ballot proposal that would allow voters to address same-sex marriage on a 2016 ballot initiative.

Additionally, a federal lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking to have the state's ban on same-sex marriage overturned; a similar lawsuit was filed earlier on a state level and represents 11 same-sex couples.

These lawsuits and ballot proposals are an attempt by same-sex marriage activists to address gay marriage bans at a state level after the Supreme Court ruled in June to strike down a key component of the Defense of Marriage Act, thus allowing same-sex couples to receive federal benefits.

The Supreme Court justices also ruled that individual states may continue determining who can marry.

Lawsuits seeking to overturn individual states' same-sex marriage bans have also been filed in Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

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