On Friday, Republican Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert attempted to have the state's legislature pass a resolution in support of Amendment 83 which enshrined marriage discrimination into the state constitution. It failed. The resolution required a six-day notice to be considered, but Rapert wanted to suspend the rules requiring a two-thirds vote. The item did not get the needed votes.
Republican House speaker Davy Carter voted against suspending the rules to consider the resolution. “I believe in our constitution and our system of government. Whether or not our state's constitutional amendment runs afoul of the United States Constitution is a question for our highest court,” said Carter.“Judicial intimidation by the legislative branch is not appropriate in this instance or any other.”
The resolution comes a week after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Since then, hundreds of committed couples across the state have received marriage licenses. Rapert’s resolution also called Judge Piazza’s ruling an abuse of his judicial authority and sought to invalidate the marriages performed after his ruling.
Though the resolution is non-binding, it would have urged the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold the ban preventing loving gay and lesbian couples to marry in Arkansas.
Earlier this week in Arkansas, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin launched Project One America, an unprecedented effort to dramatically expand gay equality in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. HRC is making a deep and lasting $8.5 million investment concentrated in these three states. An office with dedicated staff will soon open in Little Rock.