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Poll: Most under-30 Arkansans back gay marriage

Economic development chief calls on state to change law

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published July 8, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. Updated July 8, 2013 at 2:25 p.m.


Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Grant Tennille speaks at a Human Rights Campaign news conference Monday.

Tennille voices support for legalizing gay marriage

The director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission says legalizing gay marriage would spur economic growth in the state. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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The head of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission called on the state to legalize gay marriage Monday, alongside the Little Rock release of a Human Rights Campaign poll that shows the majority of Arkansans under age 30 back the move.

Grant Tennille said Arkansas should treat all of its citizens "equally under the law."

"Arkansas has a tortured history with this concept," he said. "But we have an opportunity here before us to move first, to be a leader in this country and, maybe more importantly, the South."

Tennille said there is "no doubt" marriage equality would lead to economic growth in the state, noting some companies won't locate in a state without such law. He said Arkansas also loses some of its "best and brightest" who may go to other states where gay marriage is already legal.

"Increasingly, particularly in the area of high-tech, high-skilled knowledge-based jobs, companies look for locations where all of their employees can be welcomed, all of their employees can become part of the community and all of their employees will be treated equally," he said. "I think the first state in the South that moves in that direction will have a leg up ... If we want to move the state forward, this is a simple no-brainer."

Tennille said he did not speak directly with Gov. Mike Beebe about the issue and doesn't expect to change his mind. Beebe has spoken in favor of the 2004 amendment that defined marriage in Arkansas as between a man and a woman.

The bipartisan poll, released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign at Little Rock news conference, showed 61 percent of Arkansans under 30 support "marriage equality" and that 63 percent believe it's wrong to fire someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Chad Griffin, president of the rights group and an Arkadelphia native, said the group is committed to creating "full equality" in Arkansas and the rest of the country.

The poll surveyed 600 Arkansan adults from June 26-30 after the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The survey, commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Target Point Consulting, carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.


Comments on: Poll: Most under-30 Arkansans back gay marriage

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djigoo says... July 8, 2013 at 11:16 a.m.

Great news! The dinosaurs are dying out.

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Jfish says... July 8, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.

This article seems incomplete, did they not survey people over 30, if not, why not? If so, where are the numbers?

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Popsmith says... July 8, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.

Seems that most people under 30 don't understand the negative implications of glorifying homosexuality.

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Packman says... July 8, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.

Would have been interesting if a reporter had asked Tennile if he also supports "marriage equality" for ALL consenting adults including those who wish to simultaneously marry multiple people of various sexual orientations (G,B,L,T, etc.), sibling marriage, and marriage between same sex heterosexuals. it would also be interesting to see the methodology used in the poll including a list of questions. Any 2nd year marketing student knows how to rig a poll to get pretty much whatever answer is desired. But according to SCOTUS, public polls are nonsense. In their DOMA ruling SCOTUS ignored the ultimate public polling apparatus known as the voting booth. It's quite telling how libs favor public polls and what the majority may or may not want, until such polls become inconsistent with their political agenda, at which point they run whining to a favorable court.

As a side note, didn't this Tennile guy previously work for Mike Huckabee as some kind of media spokesperson? Anyone know Tennile's credentials (education, experience, etc. other than being a Shane Broadwayisque political hack) that qualify him for the job? The question is relevant due to his statements about how gay marriage will help economic growth in Arkansas. Does he know what the heck he is talking about, or is he just serving as a demorat party political mouthpiece aimed at infusing Hollywood gay agenda money into Arkansas demorat political coffers? If the guy has an English or Journalism degree and no experience as a CEO or equivalent in the private sector, I think we all know the answer......

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Silverback says... July 8, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.

2010 Census data - Ark population 2,915,918. age 30 and above population 1,728,185. Of the 1,187,733 below age 30, 592,125 are below age 15.
Lets here from the majority of adults!

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edo1962 says... July 8, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.

NO! God said this is wrong. Rights have nothing to do with this. Under 30?, my kids know this is wrong.

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LIVEFROMLONOKE says... July 8, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.

Let's see, we are first in Teen pregnancy, our first moral measure, so I guess it seems only fitting to go ahead and jump off the cliff because it is good for our economical status.

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faytown says... July 8, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

good to see the next generation is more accepting. haters need to get out of others' personal lives.

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il22993us says... July 8, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.

Some very ignorant and downright stupid comments posted here.

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23cal says... July 8, 2013 at 3:08 p.m.

That percentage is only a little behind the rest of the country. Nationwide the polls show 73% of those under 30 support gay marriage.
The inevitable conclusion is that gay marriage is going to win. It might take a while for the haters, the bigots, the discriminators, the homophobes, and so on of the older generation to die off.....but they will. Progressive younger people who don't want bronze age superstitions to be more important than the rights of Americans will inevitably become the majority.
As the growth of acceptance gives more and more homosexuals the confidence to come out, even more people will discover not only that they are already acquainted with gay people, but that they LIKE the gay people. Putting a face on gays makes acceptance grow. Really, it is pretty difficult to believe the nice boys next door who feed your dog and pick up your mail for you when you're gone are really the scourge of America, ya know?
People who want to love one another and be left alone will never be a threat to society. The sowers of discord and purveyors of hatred always have been and always will be.
So, enjoy it while you can, all you folks against it. You might win this hand, but you will certainly lose the game.

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