State Capitol News
10:33 pm
Tue August 26, 2008

Gay Marriage Ballot Wording Changed

Phoenix, AZ – Voters will be told when they go to the polls that it is already illegal for gays to marry in this state -- maybe. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.


Secretary of State Jan Brewer originally did not want that
mentioned in the description of Proposition 102 she is required
to craft for the ballots. That measure would constitutionally
define marriage in Arizona as between one man and one woman.
Brewer had called the reference to the 1996 law confusing. When
Attorney General Terry Goddard refused to go along, she sued. On
Tuesday the two sides agreed to compromise language which does
mention the law, but in a way Brewer found acceptable. But that
isn't the end of the story. Late Tuesday backers of Prop 102
filed their own lawsuit against both Goddard and Brewer to strip
any mention of the existing law from the ballot description
despite their deal. Sen. Ron Gould whose legislation put the
issue on the ballot said there is no need to mention the statute.

(That's not what we voted on in the Legislature. We voted on
wording. We voted on the ballot question. And the attorney
general's trying to manipulate the ballot question and confuse
people.)

Backers of Prop 102 say the statutory ban is irrelevant because
it won't mean anything if a court decides that gays have a
constitutional right to wed. That's exactly what happened when
the California Supreme Court overturned that state's ban on same-
sex marriage.

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.