You're as young as you think 

It's written in plain English in the Arkansas Code. Title 9-11-109 says, "Marriage shall be only between a man and a woman. A marriage between persons of the same sex is void." So why take the extraordinary step of reinforcing existing state law with a constitutional amendment? The sponsors of the ballot initiative, who call themselves the "Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee," answer this question on their website by saying: "California and New York both have laws that prohibit same-sex marriages, yet local officials in those states have defied state law, claiming that they are unconstitutional, and they have performed same-sex marriages. By amending the Arkansas Constitution we are doing everything we can do as a state to preserve marriage as being between a man and a woman." In other words, they think the best way to fend off a constitutional challenge is to add the provision to the Constitution. I'm not sure how that will preserve the concept if it is ultimately declared unconstitutional, but at least Arkansas will be sending a message to the rest of the country. And that message is: We are old. You see, when it comes to gay marriage, the best predictor of your opinion on the subject is your age. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll cited in Hendrik Hertzberg's March 15 New Yorker column, adults under age 30 said they would favor by a 61-35 percent margin "a law that would allow homosexual couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as other married couples." Among those age 65 and older, only 18 percent would support such a measure, and 73 percent would oppose it. With this in mind, the popularity of a gay marriage ban in Arkansas is borne out by U.S. Census figures. Arkansas is among the top 10 states in its percentage of the total population that is 65 and older (14 percent). Our median age puts us in the oldest top third. We are old, therefore we think old. From a rational standpoint, the generation gap on this issue should give amendment supporters pause. That is, the fact that younger people's attitudes diverge so sharply from those of their elders indicates that our society will be more tolerant of gay marriage in the not-too-distant future, as the younger people age. Often, such a phenomenon is called progress, and we have seen it work its magic here before. In 1956, another state constitutional amendment passed through a popular ballot initiative. Known as Amendment 44, it capitalized on emotions inflamed by recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions to declare that Arkansas intended to protect its prerogative to segregate by race. Because it is so difficult to remove anything from the Constitution, that embarrassing and unconstitutional provision remained in place until it was finally repealed in 1990. Knowing that we may someday have a similar change of heart on the gay marriage issue, Arkansas may want to spare itself the time, trouble, and humiliation of having to purge another backward clause out of our Constitution. Ironically, that may be an approach too mature for our mature population to accept.

From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Warwick Sabin

  • Helena's disappearing buildings

    Preservationists hope to slow demolitions.
    • Mar 22, 2007
  • Trailers headed to Dumas

    Gov. Mike Beebe issued the following statement earlier today: Although this decision by FEMA to deny emergency funds to Desha County defies common sense, Arkansas will take care of its own people.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • Youth Ranch robbed, vandalized

    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.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Warwick Sabin

  • Trickle-up theory

    Through thick and thin, there has always been one group of dedicated Americans whose support for President George W. Bush has been unwavering: The wealthy.
    • Mar 8, 2007
  • Time to go

    Tough questions face us in Iraq and it's time to confront them directly.
    • Mar 1, 2007
  • Plugged in

    One reason why the South remained solidly Democratic during the mid-20th century was the enduring gratitude to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who brought electricity to the poor, rural parts of the region. According to one historical account, “Althou
    • Feb 22, 2007
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


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

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Another Jesus

    • And I quote: "Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to…

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Hey Bishop, when did God say "Grab them by the pussy?"

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • Well said. I believe that male mentors are another key way to connect our local…

    • on July 21, 2017

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