Proposed Constitutional Amendment Would Ban Gay Marriages in Arkansas

FEBRUARY 20, 2004 - Posted at 4:29 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Attorney General Mike Beebe is considering whether to put on the November ballot a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Little Rock lawyer Robert Shafer filed the amendment yesterday but would not say on whose behalf he was filing it.  He said the sponsoring organization will make an announcement "at a later date."

The attorney general's office is required by state law to review the legality of the ballot initiative before the crafting group seeks signatures.

Any ballot initiative must receive more than 80,000 certified signatures to qualify for the general election ballot.

Beebe can either approve it for that phase, reject it outright or direct the crafters to write it in a way that would not be misleading to voters.

Arkansas is one of 34 states that already has an anti-gay marriage statute, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled that only a constitutional amendment can ban gay marriages.

With that in mind, San Francisco's mayor opened up city offices for gay marriages last week and more than 2,700 gay and lesbian couples have wed in that city since.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)