by Max Brantley
The political response in Arkansas to the historic U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage were predictable: Republicans uniformly disapproved; Democrats either more quietly disapproved or laid low.
Unrestrained in happiness was the grassroots group Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality. About 50 people joined their impromptu march downtown yesterday evening to celebrate the defeat of DOMA. Said Trey Weir:
The number was overwhelming and unexpected. We marched through movies in the park and had people clapping and cheering as we chanted "black, white, gay, straight, love does not discriminate." Truly amazing.
More photos at the group's Facebook page. It states it is working for an initiative for marriage equality in Arkansas in 2016. A journey of a thousand miles. Hope springs. And so on.
UPDATE: After I posted this, I received word that a separate gay rights group has submitted a proposal for a petitiion drive to overturn the Arkansas restriction on gay marriage in the 2014 election. The time is now, not later for Arkansans for Equality. It's full news release is on the jump.
The measure is straightforward (and daunting). Gather signatures (about 78,000) for a constitutional amendment to repeal Amendment 83 which banned marriage and civil unions in Arkansas. Approval of the ballot language by the attorney general shouldn't be too difficult since it's just a straightforward repeal.
Good luck for them all. No one is equal until all are equal. A petition drive could tee up the question for 2014 political races of course, but who knows? Arkansas might be nearing the 20th century by then.
Arkansans for Equality, a Non-Profit Organization supporting equality for all Arkansans, has submitted ballot language for the 2014 ballot to the Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for the repeal of Amendment 83.
Amendment 83 denies marriage equality to all Arkansans by limiting same sex marriage, denying civil unions and not recognizing such marriages or unions from other states.
"We are excited the United States Supreme Court has found DOMA unconstitutional. We applaud our federal government, and now we urge our state government to recognize equality for all Americans must mean equality for all Arkansans. In the Declaration of Independence, our Founding Fathers stated that all men have the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When all Americans share those same human rights, only then are we truly are free," says AFE Co-chair Judd Mann.
Arkansans for Equality is a bipartisan organization founded in 2012. The organization's belief is that all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity should be treated equally under the law and in every environment.
Language for Ballot Initiative to repeal Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution:
Popular Name: Repeal of Arkansas Marriage Amendment
Title: Proposed Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to Repeal Amendment 83, Which Limits the Definition of Marriage and Limits the Ability of the State of Arkansas to Recognize Civil Unions or Other Relationships Substantially Similar to Marriage; Which Limits the Rights of Arkansas Residents Married in Other Jurisdictions; Which Limits the Rights of Arkansas Residents Who Entered into Civil Unions in Other States; and Which Prevents Federal Laws Pertaining to the Rights of Married Persons being Applied in a Consistent Manner to Persons Living in Arkansas Who Were Married or Entered into Civil Unions Elsewhere; but Which Allows the Arkansas Legislature or Courts to Determine the Capacity of Persons to Marry, and to Regulate the Legal Rights, Obligations, Privileges and Immunities of Marriage, Subject to Federal Law.