Serena Freewomyn

Marriage Equality Updates from AZ & CA

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | May 07, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Arizona, California, Equality Arizona, Equality California, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

Just a quick update on the anti-marriage amendment making its way through both houses of the Arizona state legislature: The bill is stalled in the Senate, thanks to the maneuverings of State Rep. Kirstyn Sinema, who doubts that there are enough votes to pass the bill. Regardless, the bill still has to go to Arizona voters in November before it actually changes the state's constitution. And Equality Arizona has already launched a public relations campaign to defeat the measure. According to the Arizona Daily Star:

State statute already bans same-sex marriage.

But Equality Arizona, an organization that lobbies for gay and lesbian rights, is arguing that the amendment -- sponsored by state Sen. Tim Bee, R-Tucson -- might go even farther than current law.

Since the proposal states, "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state," the groups will argue "union" could be applied to more than just marriage.

"Essentially, this amendment could take away rights from unmarried couples, gay or straight," said Sam Holdren, public-affairs director for Equality Arizona. "We don't know how a court in Arizona will ultimately decide."

This argument successfully defeated a similar bill in 2006. But there are some marriage equality advocates who doubt the strategy will work this time, including Sinema.

I'd like to urge our AZ peeps to keep the pressure up on their state senators. The switchboard number is 602-926-4221 or 1-800-352-8404.

Similarly, Californians are gearing up to fight a proposed constitutional amendment, at the same time that the California Supreme Court is set to rule on a marriage equality decision. The San Francisco Gate reports that:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said two weeks ago that he would fight such an initiative, and the state Supreme Court is weighing whether to overturn or leave intact Proposition 22, an initiative approved by California voters in 2000 that barred recognition of same-sex marriage in the state. Justices are expected to rule in June.

Equality California is ready to fight.

"The state Constitution was created to provide everyone equal rights, and what these extreme, right-wing groups are doing is to take away from entire groups of people protections under the Constitution," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group. . . .

"We have been working to prepare for this for several years, and if they do qualify, we will mount a vigorous and hard-fought campaign," Kors said.

To find out how you can get involved with the California Marriage for All campaign, log onto Equality California's website. The outcome of the California State Supreme Court decision could have far-reaching effects beyond the state's borders. The upcoming Arizona initiative, as well as a proposed initiative in Florida, will be in question based on the ruling. So even if you're not lucky enough to live (and love) in California, please consider donating to the campaign.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 7, 2008 9:42 AM

One of Mayor Richard M. Daley's malapropisms in Chicago in the 1960's was: "Vote early, vote often." Each scoundrel from each district has to be contacted by residents of his or her district. Find out who their contribtors are and talk to them. They are all tied in to corporations. Visit the PR and Human Resources department of each you can get to to press the importance of this to our constituency. Silence is the enemy here.

We know what to do. Are there enough, who care enough, to accomplish a better outcome?

Actually, there's a correction for the AZ info. I've been in close contact with Equality Arizona and Wingspan. The bill is still stalled in the House, and hasn't made it to the Senate. The "approval" reported by the Star was preliminary approval to move the bill to the house floor. The House has not given its final approval.

The bill has been scheduled for a vote every day since it moved to the House floor, but each day passes and there has not been a vote taken. We believe the House leadership is closely watching attendance and will move the bill when they think they have an advantage. There may also be other maneuvering going on as well.

My post about this last week is here:

Thanks for the clarification, Jim.