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ACLU argues Arkansas gay-marriage ban is misleading

ACLU argues Arkansas gay-marriage ban is misleading

The American Civil Liberties Union says in a filing with the Arkansas supreme court that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is vague and misleading. The ACLU said in filings Wednesday that the general election ballot item's popular name--"An Amendment Concerning Marriage"--does not meet a requirement that it be "intelligible, honest, and impartial." The organization wants the item removed from the November 2 ballot, even though it has already been certified by the secretary of state's office. About 200,000 Arkansans signed a petition circulated by the Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee seeking to place the item on the ballot. Wednesday was the deadline for parties in the lawsuit to submit written arguments. Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, Attorney General Mike Beebe, and the marriage amendment committee also submitted arguments. The committee told the court that the ballot item is "written in perfectly intelligible English." But the ACLU said the amendment could affect the granting of benefits to domestic partners and would ban civil unions and other terms used to describe "state recognized" same-sex unions. Chris Stewart, spokesman for the marriage amendment committee, said the language in the ballot item is clear. "The voter can clearly read and understand that. What the ACLU says is the voter is too dumb to understand a basic concept," he said. The state attorney general's office defended the amendment, saying that "there is no credible argument" the ballot title is insufficient.

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