State Capitol News
Fri May 16, 2008
Gay marriage ruling impacts Arizona
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Thursday's California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage is having political fallout here. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.
The California court said protections provided by that state's
constitution -- quote -- must be interpreted to guarantee this
basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or
heterosexual. The ruling comes as Cathi Herrod of the Center for
Arizona Policy is pushing lawmakers to amend this state's
constitution to specifically define marriage as between one man
and one woman.
(The California decision shows exactly why a constitutional
amendment is needed to protect and secure a definition of
marriage in Arizona. Let's let the people of Arizona decide the
definition of marriage, not the judges and not the politicians.)
Herrod said that kind of language in the Arizona constitution
would bar courts here from reaching the same conclusion. She
acknowledged the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in 2003 there is
no constitutional right of gays to wed in this state, a decision
upheld, without comment, by the Arizona Supreme Court. But she
said that's not enough.
(The Arizona Supreme Court has changed its composition since that
decision. We've seen now in Massachusetts and California these
decisions come out by a one-vote margin of a judge.
The state House already has agreed to put the issue on the
November ballot but Senate President Tim Bee has not yet
scheduled a vote.
For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard