Arkansas attorney general Dustin McDaniel said today he supports marriage equality but will continue to defend his state’s ban on same-sex marriage in court, the Associated Press reports.
“I want to tell you I do support marriage equality and I do believe Arkansans should have the right to be equal in the eyes of the law,” McDaniel said in a speech at the AP managing editors convention. After the speech, he explained to an AP reporter, “I’m going to zealously defend our constitution, but at the same time I think it’s important to let people where I stand on the matter.”
Arkansas voters in 2004 approved an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage. It is currently being challenged in a state court, and a ruling is expected by Friday.
McDaniel’s comments make him the first statewide official in Arkansas to back marriage equality. A Democrat, he is in his last year as attorney general. He said he would not campaign for ending the ban while still in office, nor would he call for other officials to embrace his position.