Favorite

Listen carefully 

A coalition of religious groups used primary election day to jumpstart the campaign to put discrimination against gays and lesbians in the Arkansas Constitution. Coalition petitioners were at many polls to get signatures to put an amendment on the ballot to prohibit same-sex marriage. A state employee told me about her experience at Dunbar Middle School. "Two people walked up to me. The first words out of one of their mouths was, 'Would you like to sign a petition for a chance to vote for or against gay marriage.' I'm for gay marriage, so I thought, maybe I should sign it. Then I realized they were trying to hoodwink me." Indeed. The ballot measure offers no opportunity to vote for same-sex marriage. It offers only the opportunity to prohibit it. Arkansas law already prohibits same-sex marriage. The constitutional redundancy is intended to derail anyone who thinks the Constitution's promise of equal rights might cast some legal doubt on the statute. The amendment does more than ban same-sex marriage. It also prohibits giving the rights of marriage to any but married couples. That prohibition has implications for a range of issues - inheritance, health insurance, custody, property division - that can't yet be fully foreseen. It could harm more than gays by limiting the state's ability to adapt to the changing nature of families and domestic partnerships. Such big technicalities don't matter to those who believe their Bible condemns homosexuality. They want the state to punish those who practice otherwise. Bible or no Bible, at least a few of them are apparently willing to lie to get the job done. It is not only a lie to say this amendment is a vote for or against gay marriage. It might also be a crime. State law makes it a Class A misdemeanor - punishable by up to a year in jail - to knowingly and falsely misrepresent the effect of a ballot measure to get someone to sign a petition. A friend of the state employee was accosted by petitioners in North Little Rock. There, the pitch was that the amendment would "remove activist judges." The amendment would remove no judges. A state constitutional amendment would provide gay-bashers some momentary pleasure. But it won't change gay people's wiring. Nor will it change the growing tolerance of homosexuality, particularly among future old people. It also ignores federal case law, which says you can't target a group of people for discrimination on account of their group. (At least that was the law until George W. Bush started appointing federal judges.) In time, the state's effort to make second-class citizens of people who want only to establish loving families will go in history's garbage can. There, it will join the old racial segregation laws. Zealots waving Bibles helped pass those laws, too. In the meanwhile, if you're asked to sign one of these petitions, listen carefully. If you're told a lie, ask for the petitioner's name and address, just as he asked for yours. Then cheerfully inform him that, while he'll not be getting your name, the prosecutor will be getting his. And by all means assure him that it's the sin you hate, not the sinner.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • Conflicts of interest in the legislatures

    The Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press collaborated for a project aimed at highlighting state legislators whose lawmaking might be affected by private business interests.
  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • In black and white

    The men and women who patrol Little Rock in black and white vehicles tell a story in black and white.
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • Man's world

    The news of high-profile men outed for sexual harassment and worse shows no sign of abating soon.
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • The Clintons

    I wasn't particularly excited about the 25th anniversary celebration of Bill Clinton's election. Life goes on.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.
  • Tax lies

    If Aristotle's famous principle can be stretched from the theater of art to the theater of politics, we may soon discover whether the Republican tax cuts will challenge the public's "willing suspension of disbelief."

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Where cities go from here

    • So Florida says he was wrong the first time and the second time he says…

    • on December 10, 2017
  • Re: Cats and dogs

    • Dee-lightful column - and wonderfully written comments.

    • on December 10, 2017
  • Re: GOP contempt

    • If ineptitude and irrelevance had a poster boy, it would be Gene Lyons. He harangues…

    • on December 10, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation