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Marriage Equality

WATCH: Arkansas Governor Seeks Flimsy Marriage Compromise

WATCH: Arkansas Governor Seeks Flimsy Marriage Compromise


Outgoing Governor Mike Beebe says he's willing to consider civil unions, but it's too little, too late.

Twenty years ago, if the Governor of Arkansas had suggested he might be open to civil unions, it would have been cause for celebration. Today, it's cause for eye-rolling.

Speaking at a nonprofit that benefits retirees on Wednesday, Beebe said that he still opposes marriage equality, but might be open to granting limited civil unions to same-sex couples in Arkansas. That white flag isn't likely to gain much traction with Arkansas LGBT organizers, since so far two separate judges have ruled that the state should be required to provide full marriage equality. In the federal case, Jernigan v. Crane, Judge Kristine Baker ruled that the state's ban is unconstitutional on November 25th; and a state case is currently being appealed.

Beebe, a Democrat, has been relatively quiet on the topic of relationship recognition. In the past few years, he's made it clear that he opposes marriage equality as well as civil unions. But some state officials have broken rank, and have taken a pro-equality stance in defiance of the Governor.

And soon, his position will be even less relevant that it already is. Beebe's term ends on January 13, at which point he'll be replaced by Republican Asa Hutchinson. Unfortunatley, Hutchinson is also behind the times when it comes to marriage equality, and will almost certainly direct state attorneys to continue dragging out the litigation trying to defend the state's unconstitutional marriage ban.

Hutchinson has not expressed an opinion on civil unions -- probably because, unlike Beebe, he realizes that his opinion on the topic really doesn't matter these days.

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Matt Baume