State Capitol News
5:28 am
Mon May 12, 2008

Arizonans to vote on gay marriage?

Phoenix, AZ – The House voted this afternoon to ask state residents whether they want to constitutionally ban gays from marrying. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.


State law already limits marriage to one man and one woman. That
statute has been upheld by the state Court of Appeals, a ruling
the Supreme Court refused to disturb. But Rep. Steve Yarbrough
said there's a good reason to put the language in the
constitution.

(This amendment will eliminate the possibility of tampering with
the definition of marriage by politicians or judges. It will
prevent them from using government time and taxpayer money on
attempts to redefine marriage. And it will reduce how many
taxpayer dollars may have to be spent to defend the current state
statute against legal attack.)

The measure is narrower than the initiative voters defeated in
2006 which also would have banned state recognition of civil
unions and barred government agencies from providing benefits
like health insurance the the domestic partners of public
employees. But Rep. Linda Lopez insisted this proposal could have
the same effect if approved.

(In other states where this same language has been used with that
same argument that it's just about one man, one woman, not about
domestic partner benefits, those proponents have come back in and
attacked domestic partner benefits. That's just plain wrong.)

The measure now goes to the Senate.

For Arizona Public Radio, this
is Howard Fischer.