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New York Times on Proposition 102

Jim Burroway

November 1st, 2008

The New York Times looked into Arizona’s Proposition 102, noting that this is the second time in two years in which Arizona voters are being asked to vote on a so-called “marriage amendment.”

Religious conservatives were deeply embarrassed when Arizona became the first in the nation to say no to divisive politics, so they’re throwing everything they have to keep from being embarrassed a second time — turning this year’s attempt into an almost wholly Mormon-funded and managed campaign, driven by their rather unique beliefs in “Celestial Marriage.”

Prop 102 supporters claim that the marriage amendment is needed to “protect marriage from activist judges.” What they fail to say however is that Arizona’s “activist judges” already ruled on this. The Arizona Supreme Court, as recently as 2004, already ruled on Arizona’s 1996 state law which already defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, and unanimously upheld that law. From the Times article:

“Their claim that we have to protect marriage from attack is ridiculous, because there’s no such attack,” said State Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat and chairwoman of Arizona Together, which opposes Proposition 102. “It’s a fake threat.”

The LDS church has played a predominant role in fundraising for the “yes” campaign, and their massive coffers threaten to completely re-shape politics in Arizona. Opponents to Prop 102 are being outspent by more than 10-to-1. While many activists are feeling abandoned by national LGBT activists in this second battle, many of us are still optimistic:

Still, many gay rights activists in Arizona are hoping for a repeat of 2006, when most everyone was surprised by the defeat of the effort to bar same-sex marriage.

Jason Cianciotto, the executive director of Wingspan, which serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Tucson, said he vividly remembered watching the 2006 returns come in.

“I called a colleague and I said ‘I think we might pull this out,’ and she said, ‘If we do, I’ll eat my hat,’ and lo and behold we won,” Mr. Cianciotto said of the 2006 vote. “And I look forward to skeptics eating their hats this time as well.”

People often dismiss Arizona as a backwards, conservative state. They don’t know Arizona. The Arizona brand of conservatism is best exemplified by Mr. Conservative himself, former Sen. Barry Goldwater. He was conservative to his core, a conservatism that valued individual liberty above all else. Remember him saying, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”? He lived it, and was an ardent supporter of equal rights for everyone — and LGBT rights in particular.

“The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay,” Goldwater asserts. “You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.”

That is Arizona.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
November 1st, 2008 | LINK

Goldwater had a gay grandson, which I think was a factor in his beliefs

homer
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Meanwhile, the Mormon church looks the other way while their polygamous sects in northern Arizona marry teenage girls to grandfathers and kick most of the young men out (so they don’t compete with Gramps). My little respect I have for this [slur removed] has evaporated.

cowboy
November 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I have to clear something up. The Main-Stream Mormons (those who belong to the largest, most powerful Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) are not involved in the present-day polygamy. Blaming the Mormon (LDS) Church to the atrocities in Utah/Arizona by the breakaway sects and the Warren Jeffs clan is not fair.

It’s like blaming you for something your second cousin on your Uncle’s side of the family did.

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