Eureka Springs is the first city in Arkansas to register domestic partnerships between both gay and straight couples. They started registering couples at 9:30 Friday morning.
The city clerk of Eureka Springs rejected a second attempt Thursday to bring a domestic registry to a public vote. City Clerk Mary Jean Sell says the petitions appeared much better than the first attempt by opponents, but still missed specific wording needed to bring the issue to a special election.
The Rev. Philip Wilson, pastor of Eureka Springs' First Christian Church, told The Associated Press that opponents had gathered 160 signatures in their second attempt. Previously, Wilson and others gathered more than the 144 signatures necessary to put the measure before voters in a special election but Sell had rejected the petition for not meeting legal requirements.
In May, the City Council voted unanimously to begin registering both gay and heterosexual couples. Couples who are 18 and older and pay a $35 fee will receive a certificate noting their partnership, which would be recorded in a paper registry.
The Carroll County Election Commission discussed the petition at a meeting Wednesday, but decided it did not have the power to call a vote on the issue, as that rests solely with the city.
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