On Monday it was Rep. Sam Singh in Michigan who introduced legislation to repeal Michigan’s Constitutional ban on same-sex marriag. Yesterday it was Brian Sims in Pennsylvania, announcing he would sponsor a bill to legalize same-sex marriages in that state. But what do people do in states where there is nary a pro gay-rights lawmaker to be found? In Arkansas, the people do it themselves.
Yesterday members of the group Arkansans for Equality presented a petition to the Arkansas Attorney General that begins the process of putting Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution up for a popular vote. Amendment 83, which bans same-sex marriages, passed with more than 70% of the vote in 2004, but times have changed, and so have hearts and minds. Arkansans for Equality thinks enough of those hearts and minds are in Arkansas.
Once the Arkansas Attorney General, Democrat Dustin McDaniel, has certified the language for the new Constitutional Amendment that the group proposes, they will need to collect about 80,000 signatures to put their marriage-equality amendment on the 2014 ballot. Then, it will be up to the people of Arkansas.
A new CNN poll says in the Northeast, 63% of Americans favor legal rights for same-sex couples. In the West, it’s 58%. But in the Midwest, the number drops to 51%, and in the South, it’s 49%. Here’s hoping Arkansas can nudge that number over the 50% mark by the vote next year.
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