Despite casting votes against a similar effort to amend the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor said they support the state amendment. U.S. Reps. Marion Berry, John Boozman, and Mike Ross told the Arkansas Times they favor defining marriage as between a man and a woman only in both the federal and state Constitutions, and Boozman pointed out that he is a cosponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Snyder explained his opposition to the state proposal in an e-mail to the Times:
"As one Arkansas voter considering the proposal, some of my questions are: (l) I don't understand the need for complicating the state Constitution since Arkansas law already clearly states marriage is a union between a man and a woman. It works best if family and marital law is done by statute, not by constitution. (2) The language in the proposal seems unnecessarily complicated and may have unintended consequences; for example, does it impact corporations who have health insurance plans that cover unmarried partners?"
As one of the only federal officeholders facing a serious re-election challenge, Snyder's stance may involve considerable political risk.
"My sense is that someone could be safer on this by going along with what the other members of the delegation have done," said Art English, a UALR political science professor. "We have a socially conservative electorate. Most Arkansans think marriage should be between a man and a woman. If Marvin Parks [Snyder's Republican opponent] could make the argument in very basic terms - and he certainly will - he could score some points."
(On Monday, after the Times queried Parks' office, the candidate issued a press release attacking Snyder for his stand.)
According to the most recent campaign filings, Parks has raised $388,400 to Snyder's $461,502, a far smaller margin than exists between candidates in any other federal race in Arkansas. That means Parks has the resources to move a message.
Snyder doesn't see gay marriage as a campaign issue.
"I think the most important issues facing voters in this race are national security, the economy, health care and education," Snyder said. "As a former Marine, Vietnam veteran, and a family doctor who works very hard on the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, I am confident the voters will continue to support me."
English made a similar point.
"Congressman Snyder has his supporters," he noted. "A lot of people respect him for his independence. But he is going to have to explain his position. If he can't do that as well as he has in the past, it may cost him some votes."
According to a press release we just received: The Donald W. Reynolds Campus of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (The Ranch) located near Fort Smith was vandalized overnight Thursday. Items stolen during the break-in included all of the children’s saddles, food, tools and supplies from The Ranch’s carpentry shop and all equipment from its auto shop. An investigation is underway with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.