Arkansas to Vote on Anti-Gay Marriage Measure

The Arkansas Supreme Court (search) said Thursday that voters may consider an anti-gay marriage initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot, rejecting arguments that the proposed constitutional amendment didn't fully explain limits it would place on marriage-type unions.

The proposal to change Arkansas' constitution says "marriage consists only of the union of one man and one woman" and would bar the state from recognizing marital unions from other states if they did not meet the definition. It includes an exemption for common-law marriages from other states as long as they are between a man and a woman.

The American Civil Liberties Union (search) had sued, saying the proposal was unconstitutionally vague.

There was no immediate comment from the ACLU, the Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee (search) or the attorney general's office, which represented Secretary of State Charlie Daniels before the state Supreme Court two weeks ago. Daniels is the state's chief elections director and his office certified the proposed amendment for the ballot.

The ACLU said the wording that will be included on the ballot would leave voters in the dark about the proposal's full implications. During arguments Sept. 23, Justice Donald Corbin noted that the ballot language and the actual amendment mirror each other — so the ballot title had to fully explain the amendment.

And Martha Adcock, a lawyer for the group backing the amendment, said the target was the legal status that is identical or "substantially similar" to marriage.

"If the voters think it's misleading, if the voters think its confusing, they can reject it," she said during the court hearing.