Region 8 residents react to possible gay marriage ballot measure

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A hot button issue could be on the ballots in Arkansas in 2016. The Arkansas Initiative on Marriage Equality is looking to legalize gay marriage in the state and they're looking to Attorney General, Dustin McDaniel to get the ball rolling.

On their website, the group makes two issues of their proposed amendment clear: that the right to marry should not be abridged or denied on account of gender or sexual orientation and that no church or religious organization would be required to perform gay marriages.

In Region 8, there were differing opinions on whether the issue should show up on the ballot in 2016.

"My personal opinion, based on the fact that I am a Christian, that I would prefer that it not be," Susanna Medlin told Region 8 News.

"Everybody is so...I guess, conservative and I don't think a lot of people would be happy about it, for sure," Haley Joiner said. "I think it would be fought pretty hard if it were on the ballot."

"Arkansas is not really up to speed with gay marriage and all that. I don't really think that that's going to happen right now but I think that it should," Tess Gates told Region 8 News. "That's a big step. Every little thing like that is gonna be a step closer to getting it legalized."

"I feel like it's against God's religion and everything so I would vote against it," Jerry Coleman said.

However, the people Region 8 News spoke with agreed on one thing.

"I think it will be a hotly contested issue," Coleman said.

"Everyone has a strong opinion, one way or another about it," Medlin told Region 8 News.

According to the Associated Press, if Attorney General, Dustin McDaniel certifies the measure, the group can begin gathering signatures needed to place it on the ballot.

Another group has submitted a proposal for next year's ballot that would repeal the Arkansas Constitution's ban on gay marriage.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press attributed to this article.