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Petition Signatures Sought for Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Proposal

The Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality will start collecting on Jan. 18 at the Fourth Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice (1 p.m. on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol).
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality (AIME) is prepared to collect signatures for The Arkansas Same-Sex Marriage Amendment (ASSMA) after the certification of their popular name and ballot title by the Attorney General, the filing of the petition part with Elections, and the first batch of petitions being printed. They will start collecting on Jan. 18 at the Fourth Annual Rally for Reproductive Justice (1 p.m. on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol).

A group of canvassers will be trained how to properly gain signatures in accordance to the Secretary of State’s “2013-14 Initiatives and Referenda for the 2014 General Election” on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the 1015 West 2nd Street, Suite 208, Little Rock, AR 72201. This training event is open to the public. Training will also be held before the rally by appointment if needed (call 501-350-2725). Those interested in collecting signatures can contact us to receive guidelines and blank petition parts.  Materials and training sessions are being prepared and scheduled for locations around the state for those interested in canvassing for the initiative.

AIME will have to collect signatures from 10 percent of the number of voters in the next gubernatorial race for Arkansas (2014) and they must be sure to collect 5 percent of the number of voters in 15 different counties from around the state as a “county minimum” by the middle of 2016 in order to be placed on the ballot for that year.

Here is the language for the Constitutional Amendment:

Popular Name
The Arkansas Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

Ballot Title
An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to define marriage as the union between two people regardless of sex; providing that no clergy member or religious organization shall be obligated to perform wedding ceremonies or participate in the solemnization of any marriage; providing that the refusal by a clergy member or religious organizations to perform any marriage ceremony or solemnization shall not create any civil claim; repealing Amendment 83 to the Arkansas Constitution; prohibiting county clerks from refusing to issue marriage licenses based on the sexes of the couple; and providing that the legislature retains the power—subject to this amendment— to determine the capacity of persons to marry and the legal rights, obligations, privileges, and immunities of marriage.

Section 1. Marriage Defined.
Marriage shall be defined as the union of two people, regardless of the sex of the individuals. 

Section 2. No interference with religious rights.
No clergy member or religious organization shall be obligated to perform wedding ceremonies or participate in the solemnization of any marriage and the refusal by a clergy member or religious organizations to perform any marriage ceremony or solemnization shall not create any civil claim. 

Section 3. Amendment 83 repealed.
Amendment 83 to the Constitution of the state of Arkansas is hereby repealed. 

Section 4. County Clerks’ authority to issue marriage licenses.
No county clerk shall refuse to issue marriage licenses based on the sexes of the couple. 

Section 5.
The legislature retains the power—subject to this amendment— to determine the capacity of persons to marry and the legal rights, obligations, privileges, and immunities of marriage.
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