A group of people opposed to gay marriage is one big step closer to making it illegal in Arkansas. Thursday morning, the Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee turned in a petition with an overwhelming 200,000 signatures to put their amendment on the ballot. They only need 80,570 signatures to be certified. "Today the Arkansas Marriage Amendment committee will turn in enough signatures to give the people of Arkansas the opportunity to define marriage between one man and one woman," said director Chris Stewart to an applauding crowd of supporters in the State Capitol Rotunda. The group says it took 3,000 volunteers and 93 days to get all of the signatures. "The people of Arkansas have spoken they would rather define marriage at the ballot box this November than have some judge or court do it for them," said Jerry Cox, with the committee. But legal experts say tinkering with the constitution could be dangerous. "It is really a statement for what the state believes," said Associate Dean John DiPippa, at UALR School of Law. "What we`re saying is there`s a class of people here who`re not going to be treated the same as anyone else." One member of that class is Matthew Howard. He says legally recognizing his 19-year gay relationship would not impede anyone else`s rights -- in fact, his are being denied. "I think it`s a poor idea for us to legislate discrimination into our constitution," said Howard. But makers of the amendment say it`s necessary to ward off the threat of the courts making it legal. "Unless we pass this amendment Arkansas will continue to be vulnerable to state court challenges seeking to legalize same-sex marriages," said Cox. DiPippa says other dangers in changing the Constitution are that outlawing civil unions could violated the Federal Equal Protection clause, and constantly amending the Constitution could damage its basic framework. The group says they expect official word from the Secretary of State`s office in mid-July on whether the signatures have been certified to place the amendment on the ballot in November.