First off, the state’s top economic official Grant Tennille said he thinks marriage equality is a great idea for the state. SFGate reports:
“I believe that increasingly, particularly in the area of high tech, high skilled, knowledge-based jobs, that companies look for locations where all of their employees can be welcomed, all of their employees can be part of a community and all of their employees will be treated equally,” Tennille said at the news conference. “I think the first state in the South that moves in that direction will have a leg up.”
Meanwhile, a new poll from HRC showed strong support for marriage equality and employment protections from those under 30 in the state. THV11 reports:
Human Rights Campaign President and Arkansas native Chad Griffin returned to his home state today to unveil new polling looking at Arkansans’ changing views on LGBT equality, and to discuss what’s next in the fight for equality after the historic Supreme Court rulings. The bipartisan poll found that 61 percent of Arkansans under age 30 support marriage equality, and 63 support legislation that would ensure no one could be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Overall support for marriage equality, though, is much lower, as ArkansasMatters.com reports:
Arkansans are more unfavorably (36 percent) than favorably disposed (31 percent) toward gay and lesbian people in general. Whereas a 55 percent majority of the country supports marriage equality, this number is at 38 percent in Arkansas.
There’s still a lot of work to do, clearly, but the next generation is on our side, even in the South. It’s really just a matter of time.