Proposed marriage amendment headed to Arkansas ballot
LITTLE ROCK – A proposed constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights was certified Thursday as having enough signatures so it can appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot in Arkansas.
The Deputy Secretary of State said the office counted 95,736 valid signatures of registered voters. The measure needed 80,570 to be put before voters.
The proposed amendment would stipulate that marriage is between a man and a woman. It would ban marriages between same sex couples, and civil unions in Arkansas.
Arkansas already has a law banning same-sex marriage but the ballot measure, if it passes, would enhance the ban to the constitutional level.
John Thomas, a spokesman for the Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee, which led the signature drive, said constitutional stature was necessary to prevent a state court from striking down the measure, as a court did in Massachusetts.
The proposal carries no penalties and isn’t intended to stir up animosity toward any groups, he said.
“We’re running this campaign very professionally,” Thomas said. “We don’t think that defining marriage as one man or one woman is hateful at all.”
Campaign starts against ban on legal status for unmarried couples
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Opponents of a constitutional amendment that would deny legal status to unmarried couples announced Monday that they’re forming a political action committee and will try to raise millions of dollars to buy television ads.
Meanwhile, the amendment’s supporters still are collecting signatures to get the proposal in the November election.
The proposal, commonly called a gay marriage ban, applies to all unmarried couples and would prohibit any legal status “that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.”
Ohioans Protecting the Constitution has four staff members and plans to have campaign volunteers ready to begin next week, Melamed said. The campaign has already sought donations from about 60 businesses that offer domestic partner benefits and supported the failed effort to oppose the state’s equal marriage rights ban, a law that took effect in May.
While amendment backers have had members set up tables to collect signatures in churches, opponents also plan to seek support from churches that support gay rights, said Ariana Adams, fund-raising coordinator.
For more information visit: www.ohiansforgrowth.org
Lesbian couple sues to have all states recognize Massachusetts
TAMPA, Fla. – A lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts sued the federal government on Tuesday to have their union legally recognized in the rest of the country.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Rev. Nancy Wilson and Paula Schoenwether, who married July 2 in Massachusetts. The couple applied for a marriage license in Florida soon afterward and were denied.
The lawsuit names U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and county clerk Richard L. Ake, who declined to issue the couple a Florida marriage license.
Ashcroft spokesman Charles Miller declined comment, saying the office had not yet seen the lawsuit. Ake said he was following Florida law when he denied the couple a marriage license.