The Avocate: Arizona’s Marriage Battle “Feeling Ignored”

Jim Burroway

September 20th, 2008

I missed this article from the Sept 23 issue of The Advocate:

Now that hope is being put to the test in California, Florida, and once again, Arizona, which all face ballot initiatives against same-sex marriage this election cycle. But while donations are pouring in to defeat the initiatives in the first two states, money is only trickling into Arizona’s gay rights groups. … If donations and attention are the currency of this campaign, marriage equality advocates could be up a creek.

“We’re hearing from individuals who have the money to fight these things that they’re giving to California and Florida because they feel like they can win there — and are skeptical about our chances here,” says Robert Tindall, a Phoenix human resources consultant and board member for the state’s American Civil Liberties Union. Adds Rebecca Wininger, a member of the Phoenix chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, “To say that one fight is more important than another dismisses the other fights.”

Donations and attention are most certainly the currency of this campaign. Arizona turned back a so-called “marriage amendment” in 2006, becoming the first state in the nation to do so at a time when everyone thought it was impossible.

But just because we did this in 2006 doesn’t mean that it will automatically happen again in 2008. This is a different election with a different electorate, and our opposition is already airing television commercials.

We can defeat Prop 102 again, but we cannot do this without your help. Help us preserve your 2006 victory and tell them that when you say no, you really mean no. This is important because this has implications for other states in the years to come — including California, should Prop 8 go down in defeat there. Please give as generously as you can.

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008

Hi, Jim:

Why does Robert Tindall think people are so skeptical about the defeat of Arizona’s Prop 102?

Personally, I’d be more skeptical about Florida defeating their amendment based solely on the degree of state sanctioned homophobia.

Is Tindall so skeptical about Arizona because Prop 102 wording limits marriage only as opposed to the earlier ballot which would have also limited civil unions and domestic partners?

Again, personally, Tindall seems to have a rather defeatets outlook. The fact that Arizonans defeated the earlier ballot might be used to again call upon Arizonans to encourage them to once more stand up and say that their constitution should be used to protect and enshrine rights, not take them away.

Jim Burroway

September 20th, 2008

Tindall isn’t skeptical — he’s just repeating the skepticism that he’s heard others express when he’s talked to them. I would agree however that those who are speaking to Tindall have a defeatist outlook, one that isn’t at all warranted.

In 2006, most of the national groups felt that Arizona was “too conservative” to defeat the so-called “marriage amendment.” But what they didn’t understand that Arizona’s conservatism has a very strong libertariant streak. When they say “keep government out of my business,” that also translate as “keep government out of all of our business.”

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008

Let’s hope that “libertarian” streak prevails or translates into an attitude that the constitution should not be used to take rights away.

This is not to say that the social conservatives should ever be underestimated — I think Ohio did that in 2004 — and a strong push against Prop 102, such as the one you are leading must continue.

Ben in Oakland

September 20th, 2008

I would be more than happy to do what I can from here. I can write for you, if you have a need for that. I’ve asked my sister, who now lives in AZ, to vote against it. I will send you some money as well.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Timothy Kincaid

September 20th, 2008


Florida has the advantage of a higher bar. They have to get 60% there to amend their constitution.


September 20th, 2008

So you’re saying Arizona has sort of become the T to the California and Florida HRC?

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008

Yes. But Florida is only about 2% short of having met that bar in the latest polls. Also, Florida has a much larger historical record of passing anti-gay legislation (or at least stalling it) and, I think, a much more anti-gay prone population in general excepting some proactive civil-rights politics in Broward County (i.e. Miami) than either Arizona or California.

Both Arizona and California have strong conservative influences, but they seem to be at least less “mean” about it (i.e., “I don’t like but I’m not going to write it into the constition” attitude — think SD mayoral comments) than Florida . And the GOP party itself in Florida funded what(?) 50% (or more) of the money for the pro-amendment press?

I think re: Florida, people are looking at those poll results and saying they’ll never make 60%. I’m not so sure about that.

One thing encouraging about California is the major papers (the Times, Union-Trib e.g.) and all three mayors of San Francisco (I think), Los Angeles, and San Diego coming out against Prop 8… and the “terminator” himself. I’m not sure of any major players that way in Florida coming out against their amendment, excepting maybe the city of Miami politcos.

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008

Both Arizona and California have strong conservative influences, but they seem to be at least less “mean” about it (i.e., “I don’t like but I’m not going to write it into the constition” attitude — think SD mayoral comments) than Florida . And the GOP party itself in Florida funded what(?) 50% (or more) of the money for the pro-amendment press?


Even homophobic mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson finally spoke out against Prop 8.

It’s just a got feeling and, again, on a personal level, in my opinion, I think both California and Arizona stand a better chance of defeating their ballot measures than does Florida. I just don’t put a lot of faith in those Florida poll figures. Simply put, I don’t trust them. Time and time again (as in Ohio in 2004) the polls were way off when the actual voting day arrived.

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008


What does concern me quite a bit about California and Arizona, however, is the large out of state influence of the Mormon church. They’ve truly declared war. It seems almost every day, or every other day, in the Salt Lake City Tribune they’ve been speaking up and “calling to arms”. They’re right up their with Focus on the Family, et al., in terms of recent vociforousness — and a voice being backed with cash.

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008

I suppose the bottom line of what I’m saying is that, simply put, when it comes down to where I’d put money it would be California and Arizona. Although I agree all three battle states are important battles, I’ll admit to a somewhat defeatest attitude when it comes to Florida simply because both Arizona and California already have passed more gay-positive legislation and I see Florida is being a much larger hill to climb.

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008


both Arizona and California already have passed more gay-positive legislation

I think I misspoke there.

I was just checking on some things and Florida and Arizona may be about equal in terms of the lack of state-wide rights/protections.


September 20th, 2008

Stefano A wrote:

“Florida has a much larger historical record of passing anti-gay legislation and, I think, a much more anti-gay prone population in general excepting some proactive civil-rights politics in Broward County (i.e. Miami) than either Arizona or California.”

Miami is in Dade. Ft. Lauderdale is in Broward.

Stefano A

September 20th, 2008

Oh, that’s right.

Thanks for correcting me.


September 20th, 2008

Also, don’t forget that Florida is the ONLY State in the country that has an outright, Statewide BAN on adoptions by gay people. Thanks to Anita Bryant and her “homosexual” witch hunts of 1977.

That’s 31 years of continued LGBT discrimination, at least in the case of adoptions.

I’ve made my donation to FIGHT Amendment 2 in Florida! And spread the word to all my friends and family in the sunshine State!

I also donated to the fight against Prop. 8 in California and Prop. 102 in Arizona! As well as informed every single living individual that I know and don’t know to vote against these measures, depending on where they live. Or even where they don’t live, I tell them to tell their friends that may live in one of the other states.

I also created a custom signature line in my email program so that every single email I send or reply to tells people to Vote “NO” on these measures!


September 22nd, 2008

I really would like for John and Cindy McCain to speak up on this issue. It is their state, after all. With Cindy owning the largest Beer Distributorship in the state, I would also be very interested in what the Gay Businesses that support her (to the tune of millions annually, I’m sure)think about it.

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