BREAKING: Arizona Senate Rejects Anti-Marriage Amendment

Jim Burroway

June 25th, 2008

This just in:

The Arizona Senate has rejected a proposal that would have asked voters to amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. The 14-11 vote fell two votes shy of what was required to send the proposal to the November ballot. Senators later voted to reconsider the measure at another unspecified date.

The Arizona legislature is just about to end its legislative session. And since this proposal has been rejected, I don’t know what’s meant by the line saying that they voted to reconsider the measure “at another unspecified date.” When I know, you’ll know. But for now, it looks like it might be dead for 2008.

Update: What that last line means is that they can still bring the amendment up for a vote at any time between now and the official end (“sine die”) of the session. In a just-released statement, Equality Arizona characterized the move as a “desparete maneuver” by Senate Republicans to force a vote. Sixteen votes (a simple majority of the Senate) was needed to pass the resolution. Five Senators did note vote.


June 25th, 2008

Good job Arizona!


June 25th, 2008

The failure of this bill is being blamed on the absense of Republican Sen. Karen Johnson. But the Senate has 30 members, so there were 5 missing votes.

I suspect there’s a convoluted parliamentary maneuver going on here. You mentioned 16 votes were needed for passage – that’s an absolute majority (16 out full membership of 30), not a simple majority (majority of those voting).

In some legislatures (including the U.S. congress), the losing side can ask for a re-vote, so maybe 4 of the missing votes were Republicans who would have voted for the bill, but that would have given them a 15-14 win, not enough to put the amendment on the ballot, but depriving them of the right to ask for a re-vote.


June 25th, 2008

My point in the post above is, we shouldn’t start the celebration just yet. This 14-11 vote may be just a holding pattern, not a defeat, for the Republicans. They may be set up for a sure win as soon as Karen Johnson gets back from vacation.

Jim Burroway

June 25th, 2008

I would agree that this is not over. It won’t be over until the “sine die,” which can’t come too soon.

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