State Capitol News
3:38 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Could AZ Same-Sex Marriage Vote Hinge On Older Voters?

A former state official said today the question of whether same-sex couples are allowed to wed in Arizona could depend on how many older voters are still alive in 2016. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

Arizonans approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2008 by a 56-44 margin. But Republican Grant Woods who served as attorney general for 8 years in the 1990's said a lot has changed since then. "A lot of people at the upper end have died," Woods said. "A lot of people at the lower end have become voters. And the more young people who are engaged in voting, they're going to overwhelmingly (support) gay rights across the board. And some of the opposition is, in fact, generational."

Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, which opposes gay marriage, acknowledged there is some basis for looking at the issue from the perspective of age. "This is a generation that's grown up with TV show after TV show, movie after movie promoting same-sex relationships being equivalent to marriage, that redefining marriage is a good thing."

But Herrod said she believes their views will change as they get married and have children. The issue is not entirely generational. In a bid to put a face on the question, backers of a repeal introduced Karen Bailey, who met her partner, Nelda Majors, while they were in college. Baily said, "We chose at that time a song by Roy Hamilton called, 'The Right to Love' as our song. 55 years later we may have the right to love, but we still don't have the rights to legal marriage in the state of Arizona."