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Arkansas Attorney General Again Rejects Ballot Measure to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

For a second time, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected the language of a ballot proposal that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state saying that the wording did not make clear what effect the measure would have on current law, the AP reports:

McdanielOn Tuesday, McDaniel said the language was unclear on the proposed Arkansas Marriage Equality Amendment. The proposal by Jennifer Pierce would amend the state Constitution to say that marriage consists of the union between two persons regardless of gender.

Pierce's proposal also states that no member of the clergy or religious organization would be required to perform marriage ceremonies.

Last month McDaniel's spokesman explained the rejection of a similar proposal for the same reasons: "That rejection was due to misleading tendencies in the proposed ballot title and the ballot title's failure to include any mention of the proposal's effect on current law...You may, after clarification of the matters discussed above, submit the text of your proposed amendment, along with a proposed popular name and ballot title, at your convenience."

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  1. Okay, as with the last time, the news is not clear: Is the verbiage for the proposed measures actually poorly crafted, or do we have a hostile state official who would not accept language as simple as "1 + 1 = 2"?

    Posted by: K in VA | Sep 18, 2013 11:23:25 AM

  2. They simply need to say, "We are Republicans." That will put everyone on notice that they are dumb as dirt and incapable of understanding clear English.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Sep 18, 2013 11:26:36 AM

  3. Jimbo really wishes he had his hair back.

    Posted by: David | Sep 18, 2013 11:30:08 AM

  4. It wouldn't succeed anyways. It's Arkansas.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 18, 2013 11:30:53 AM

  5. After 2 minutes of Googling I failed to find the ballot language submitted this time around. The original text (rejected in July) read:

    "Be it enacted by the people of the State of Arkansas:
    Section 1. The right to marry shall not be abridged or denied on account of sex or sexual orientation.
    Section 2. No member of the clergy or religious organization shall be required to provide accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges related to the solemnization or celebration of marriage. The refusal to do so shall not create any civil claim or cause of action."

    That seems pretty clear to me, though I can imagine how it might have failed to meet some formal requirements.

    Posted by: babh | Sep 18, 2013 11:52:46 AM

  6. Oh, so we're just supposed to give up? No. I'm a gay Arkansan and I demand equality just like the rest of the other marriage equality states in this country.

    Posted by: Clay | Sep 18, 2013 11:53:17 AM

  7. How 'bout they just add
    "3. Yes, sections 1 and 2 above really do mean gay people can get married."

    Would that clear it up for you, Dustin?

    Posted by: Lymis | Sep 18, 2013 11:57:18 AM

  8. And we'll keep fighting with you, Clay!

    There was an encouraging poll in Arkansas this summer. Attitudes are definitely shifting fast,
    but the numbers still just aren't there. If this measure is allowed on the ballot, it will fail, but that doesn't mean anyone's going to give up.

    Posted by: babh | Sep 18, 2013 12:38:33 PM

  9. And we'll keep fighting with you, Clay!

    There was an encouraging poll in Arkansas this summer. Attitudes are definitely shifting fast,
    but the numbers still just aren't there. If this measure is allowed on the ballot, it will fail, but that doesn't mean anyone's going to give up.

    Posted by: babh | Sep 18, 2013 12:38:33 PM

  10. When people lament the fact places like Arkansas and West Virginia are turning Republican,keep in mind the Democrats in these places usually aren't any better then Republicans when it comes to gay marriage issues.
    Sad to say but many Democrats simply don't see equality for gays and lesbians as a civil rights issue,and the AG here is one of them.

    Posted by: Kevin | Sep 18, 2013 12:40:15 PM

  11. But it's still OK to marry your sister there.

    Posted by: Jack M | Sep 18, 2013 12:57:04 PM

  12. I suppose they can just borrow language from another state's law.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 18, 2013 1:58:52 PM

  13. @candideinnc:

    McDaniel is a Democrat, not a Republican. Welcome to the south: Where bigotry knows no political bounds.

    Posted by: RTHK | Sep 18, 2013 2:00:14 PM

  14. I think people in the south are misjudged based on their politicians. The politicians are no more a representative of the south than Anthony Weiner is a representative of the great people of New York. Politicians can be the great manipulators no matter where your home is. Don't like a policy, entrench it in jargon and rhetoric appeals in an attempt to tire your opposition. The fact is the opposition is only gaining steam not losing it.

    The south is changing quickly (still not quickly enough, as evidenced in this article) but very quickly compared to entrenched attitudes that lasted decades. Yet we are still made to appear buffoonish based on outdated stereotypes and that's our unfortunate cross to bear, especially the gay citizens who have at least two to bear.

    Those who are opposed to equality (especially in the political arena) would love nothing more than to convince the public that there's no change to see (move along please). However, you also won't find a more galvanized group of gay citizens than those in the south who have lived through the prior decades and learned all too well to not back down and to work together.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Sep 18, 2013 2:36:04 PM

  15. I see a pattern emerging. He's going to probably keep rejecting whatever they give him based on "language" B.S.

    Who do you go to when you want to sue the Attorney General?

    Posted by: johnny | Sep 18, 2013 2:37:37 PM

  16. And, for the record, I rather fight over the wording now with our democratic Attorney General, than fight over the wording in court with anyone else later on after the initiative has been certified and signatures have been gathered.

    Posted by: Jennifer Pierce | Sep 18, 2013 3:13:06 PM

  17. In Washington, we do it write: Ballot measures include the existing statute marked to show additions and deletions, or else are introduced with the header NEW SECTION. The Office of the Code Reviser makes suggestions as to format and language, which the measure sponsors are free to accept or not. The entire measure must be printed ON THE PETITIONS, where voters can read it before they sign: if it is a crappy law, then they won't get signatures and problem solved.

    This all seems so reasonable, I'm always surprised that so few states do it this way.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Sep 18, 2013 3:43:46 PM

  18. Well then the LGBT citizens of Arkansas should reject the tax laws and take their money back by force.

    Posted by: Sean | Sep 18, 2013 5:17:07 PM

  19. Well, he could actually be doing them a favor, 'cuz it ain't gonna win by ballot measure in Arkansas anytime too soon. And when they lost, the opposition would use that popular vote going forward to say "the people have spoken." They might be better off going the judicial route. - jmho

    Posted by: Rexford | Sep 18, 2013 9:00:24 PM

  20. There is nothing misleading about the language submitted. Now is the time to go to federal court and challenge this ruling by a biased Attorney General.

    Posted by: Jay | Sep 18, 2013 9:05:15 PM

  21. The original ballot language that was rejected on Tuesday can be found here:

    Posted by: Jennifer Pierce | Sep 19, 2013 10:39:38 AM

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