Beebe, Hutchinson Square Off in Final Debate

OCTOBER 18, 2006 - Posted at 7:58 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Republican Asa Hutchinson assailed Democrat Mike Beebe's opposition to a covenant-marriage proposal, while Beebe defended his vote as an effort to keep from creating second-class marriages.  That was one of the issues that arose last night as the two candidates for governor faced off in their final televised debate.

More than 250 people attended the third and final debate between the two major-party nominees for governor at the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock.

Hutchinson criticized Beebe for voting as a state senator against Governor Mike Huckabee's covenant-marriage proposal that makes it difficult for couples who engage in such a marriage to get a divorce.  Hutchinson said it helps send a signal to young people that marriage is serious, and is a way for couples to reinforce their vows.

Beebe said he did not want to create second-class marriages and said adding a second marriage to the first marriage and having another ceremony won't change the marriage.  As he put it, "You either have a marriage or you don't have a marriage."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)