On Tuesday, Arkansas narrowly failed to pass Issue 3, the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment.

As of Thursday morning, unofficial results from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website indicate the measure fell approximately 7,000 votes short of passing.

It’s important to keep in mind that this vote is not a referendum on religious liberty in Arkansas. There was a lot of confusion about Issue 3, specifically.

Issue 3 would have restored protections for religious liberty under the Arkansas Constitution.

Over the years, courts have allowed the government to burden the free exercise of religion when it did not have a compelling interest at stake and when the government could be less restrictive toward religious liberty. Issue 3 would have fixed that.

Unfortunately, this is a complicated issue.

Many voters don’t realize how weak our protections for religious freedom have become. That likely is part of the reason Issue 3 narrowly failed.

Family Council remains committed to protecting religious liberty in Arkansas, and we hope to do exactly that in the coming year.