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NEWS: Toddlers No Longer Allowed To Wed In State That Bans Gay Marriage

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Toddlers No Longer Allowed To Wed In State That Bans Gay Marriage

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff Posted: April 3, 2008 - 5:00 pm ET

(Little Rock, Arkansas) Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has signed legislation erasing an error that allowed anyone except gay couples to marry - even toddlers - as long as they had parental permission.

The original law was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent.

An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allowed anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

The original law read: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

Although the law does not specifically exclude same-sex pairs, Arkansas' constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples would apply.

A code revision commission - which fixes typographical and technical errors in laws - had tried to correct the mistake, but a group of legislators said the commission went beyond its powers.

A judge agreed and the law remained on the books for a year making Arkansas what one lawmaker called the laughing stock of the nation. But even though a number of legislators warned the law could make easy for pedophiles to take advantage of the law Gov Beebe nixed a special session of the Legislature last year.

This week when Beebe convened a special session to consider a tax hike the marriage bill was amended to correct the error.

?365Gay.com 2008 http://365gay.com/Newscon08/04/040308tod.htm

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