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Mike Beebe is First Sitting Arkansas Governor to Address Gay Rights Group, Says He Opposes Same-Sex Marriage

Democratic Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe became the first sitting governor of that state to address a gay rights group on Tuesday night, Reuters reports, speaking to the Stonewall Democrats in a church in Little Rock:

Beebe During a question and answer session, Beebe said an Arkansas newspaper should not have to run the name of a life partner in an obituary if that was the paper's policy. Many in the crowd loudly disagreed, as they did when Beebe said he didn't believe in gay marriage.

"I think marriage is ... as defined by the law," he said, saying unions should be between a man and a woman.

"That's something we disagree on," he said.

When asked if he thought marriage or civil union laws would ever become legal in Bible Belt Arkansas, Beebe said no.

Beebe also spoke about gay adoption and foster care, and employment discrimination:

As an example of how his views on gay rights have changed over time, Beebe pointed to his acceptance of gay couples as possible foster parents. Five years ago, Beebe supported a ban on gay foster parents.

In response to a question, Beebe said he doesn't think employers should discriminate based on sexual orientation.

"I think you ought to be judged by how well you do your employment. Period," Beebe said. He stopped short, though, of endorsing legislation that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Listen to audio from Beebe's Q&A, HERE.

UPDATE: Igor Volsky at Think Progress has more on the meeting, including this bit.

As the question and answer session went on, Beebe seemed unaware that Arkansas did not have a law prohibiting employers from firing individuals on the basis of sex or gender identity and initially claimed that it was illegal for a business to fire an employee because she or he is gay. He was corrected by the crowd and sounded embarrassed by the snafu. 


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  1. Mike Beebe seems like a regular Bill Clinton, doesn't he? Shifty, slippery, name it.

    Posted by: adam | Jun 29, 2011 9:03:40 AM

  2. With friends like this guy, who needs enemies?

    Posted by: Rich F. | Jun 29, 2011 9:09:09 AM

  3. Beebe may the first Governor to address a gay group in Arkansas but, apparently, it doesn't show he has any enlightened perceptions about LGBT equal rights. OTOH, I suppose the conversation has to start somewhere so perhaps this address is an important first step in his state.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jun 29, 2011 9:11:13 AM

  4. I guess this is downright progressive for Arkansas.

    Posted by: ichabod | Jun 29, 2011 9:21:33 AM

  5. He admits his opinion on foster care evolved, so too might his opinion on other issues. He's more than likely a damn sight better for the LGBTs in the state than any GOP governor they might get.

    Posted by: Meijay | Jun 29, 2011 9:22:47 AM

  6. You will always have these issues when you have Democrats from very socially conservative areas.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jun 29, 2011 9:30:14 AM

  7. he's just another bigot that needs to hide behind a perverse law that denies people their equal rights. He like so many others are on the wrong side of history. The Supreme Court will eventually strike the laws down denying gays full equality...even this conservative court

    Posted by: chris | Jun 29, 2011 9:43:43 AM

  8. I'm surprised at all the negativity for this guy! Afterall he's evolving, and he can't say what he really thinks because how will he get re-elected? Also he's a Democrat, so that's the party that is our fircest ally, right? So why are we not supporting him? Isn't that now the gay political stance, support the guy who gives some lip service to the cause, and when he is in his last term and still hasn't evolved then hols him accountable?

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Jun 29, 2011 9:54:45 AM

  9. If you think the law is always right and can never be morally or constitutionally wrong, there is something seriously screwed up with you. We would need Supreme Courts otherwise.

    Posted by: Steve | Jun 29, 2011 9:58:14 AM

  10. Why doesn't he defect to the GOP along with all the other conservadems? He and they are closet republicans in everything but name.

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 29, 2011 10:10:12 AM

  11. If he doesnt know the law what is he opening his big fat bigot mouth for then? Bet he knows his bible though....

    Posted by: Roger Ramjet | Jun 29, 2011 10:46:02 AM

  12. You meet this regressive politicians from the middle of the country (I live here, I meet them) and they are all the same. Most of them are well but narrowly educated, come from some sort of money, fancy themselves good ole boys (or girls), are grossly fearful of change, and think the line in the Pledge of Allegiance reads "One nation under MY God, with liberty and justice for all the people like me."

    You can literally interchange all of these ass clowns.

    Posted by: Bart | Jun 29, 2011 12:20:35 PM

  13. Yet another example of how the mainstream media are not delivering the message of the "Gay Agenda". Why aren't the gays in his office and in his political organization educating him on how much discrimination exists toward LGBT people in his state? His supporters should be e-mailing Towleroad articles every day. Education can lead to change.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Jun 29, 2011 2:46:37 PM

  14. So, with Dems like this -- and remember, he's RELATIVELY liberal for AR -- do we really want the President to make actual MARRIAGE the central issue of his gay-rights agenda?


    Posted by: BobN | Jun 29, 2011 3:45:31 PM

  15. He's wrong. The Supreme Court will agree that it is unjust for a state to ban marriages between gay people. Over time, I think there will be enough science to come out that will say that homosexuality is part of nature and that sexual orientation and gender identity ared decided before a child is born. Religions will still believe it is a sin, but a courtroom in the 50's and 60's (21st century decades) might believe it is wrong to deny rights to a minority because of religious opposition. It will be an extremely unpopular decision in the South, but it will happen. It'll take a miracle of having five justices on that Court that believe it is the right thing to do, but it will happen.

    Look at how slavery was ended. It took a civil war and a "radical Republican" Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to ban it.

    Look at how women won the vote. It was done nationally. Many of the Southern states still would not allow it.

    Look at how civil rights laws were enacted, over fierce opposition from the Southern representatives.

    And probably most importantly, look at interracial marriage. Go to the website if you would like to see an interactive map of how the marriage bans fell over time. You'll notice that in 1967, the year the Supreme Court repealed all state marriage bans, there were 17 states, all of them in the South, that still banned interracial marriage. The South did not like Loving vs. Virginia, but it had to accept it.

    It will happen one day for marriage equality in the South as well.

    Posted by: b | Jun 29, 2011 4:55:37 PM

  16. Just another example of the rampant homophobia in The African American Community!

    Posted by: CHRIS DACHOCOLATEBEARCUB | Jun 30, 2011 2:37:29 AM

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