ARKANSAS: Attorney General Approves Wording For 2016 Marriage Referendum
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel yesterday approved the wording for a petition drive to place marriage equality to a public vote in 2016. In September he also approved the wording for a separate initiative that would repeal the state's constitutional ban. The new petition does both.
McDaniel's office certified the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality. McDaniel'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 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. Under the measure, clergy and religious organizations would not be obligated to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.In 2004, 75% of Arkansas voters approved the marriage ban. Lawsuits against the ban are underway.