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Arkansas marriage amendment takes effect Thursday

Arkansas marriage amendment takes effect Thursday

With opponents claiming that it limits rights for both gay and straight Americans, an amendment to the Arkansas constitution that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman takes effect Thursday. But lead proponent Jerry Cox dismisses concerns and predicts the measure will simply do what it was intended to do: maintain the status quo. "The people who have opposed the marriage amendment keep coming up with these dreadful scenarios," Cox said Wednesday. "When it goes into effect tomorrow, the sun's going to rise and people are going to go to work and life is going to carry on just like it always does." Arkansans overwhelmingly approved the amendment November 2 by a vote of 747,770 to 255,180. The state constitution stipulates that the measure go into effect 30 days after passage. Ten other states also passed measures amending their respective constitutions to ban same-sex marriage. Several groups campaigned against the Arkansas amendment, but none have filed lawsuits challenging it. Before the election the American Civil Liberties Union unsuccessfully sued to remove the proposal from the ballot, saying it was misleading and vague. Opponents were concerned the amendment would have an effect on legal contracts that couples set up to establish their relationship or that domestic-partner benefits couples receive through their employer would be threatened.

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