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Anti-Marriage Proposition Likely For Arizona

Jim Burroway

April 18th, 2008

Update: Arizona residents can take action here.

Two weeks ago it looked like efforts by members of the Arizona state legislature to place an anti-marriage amendment proposal on the ballot was effectively killed when Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) managed to add, by a one-vote margin, a provision to grant certain rights to unmarried couples living together. This would force voters to consider guaranteeing rights for gay couples while simultaneously banning same-sex marriage. By tying the two issues together, the proposed amendment became unacceptable to conservative supporters and they voted to kill it.

Last Friday, we learned that the anti-marriage amendment is back on the agenda, and prospects for killing it this time aren’t so good. The proposed amendment was resurrected by the House Judiciary Committee without the pro-gay provisions, and the full House is expected to vote on it next Tuesday. This time, it’s expected that there won’t be enough votes to add Rep. Sinema’s pro-gay provisions. Several legislators who would have voted against the provisions two weeks ago were absent. They plan on being there this time.

If the proposal passes the House, it will go on to the Senate before being placed on the ballot.

Arizona voters defeated a proposed anti-marriage amendment in 2006, making Arizona is the only state to do so. I’ve looked into some of the precinct level results from that election. I’ve found that at least a few of those state representatives who are rumored to support the current attempt to ban same-sex marriage represent legislative districts where voters soundly defeated the 2006 proposal.

The 2006 proposed amendment not only sought to ban same-sex marriage, but all other forms of civil unions, domestic partnerships or any other state and municipal recognition of unmarried relationships. The current proposal calls for a “pure” anti-marriage amendment, without the prohibitions against other forms of legal recognition.

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