April 3rd, 2013
The tiny southeastern Arizona town of Bisbee — pop: 6,000; unofficial motto: “Keep Bisbee freaky;” located just four miles from the Mexican border — has adopted an ordinance to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. The terms of the city’s civil unions are extremely limited: while it covers joint property ownership, property inheritance, guardianship and adoption rights, it only applies within the city’s boundaries, which effectively makes it no different from a number of domestic partnership registries in Tucson, Phoenix, and other Arizona cities. Bisbee City Attorney John MacKinnon acknowledged that in the end, the ordinance’s impact will apply only to things within the city’s control, such as personnel policies.
But it’s the term “civil unions” which has caught Arizona’s conservatives off guard. Who knew that they would suddenly become all riled up over the sanctity of civil unions?
And just hours before the meeting, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, at the urging of state lawmakers from Cochise County, sent a letter warning Bisbee that his office would take legal action against the city if council members approved the ordinance.
Horne said Bisbee does not have the authority to offer civil unions and that “the impact goes beyond (city) boundaries.”
MacKinnon, referring to Horne and the state, said: “They chose to interpret it broadly. We believe this was a desire to make a political statement.”
MacKinnon said he was proud to bring the issue to the council. “I think for too long many of us have been silent while we have witnessed discrimination against some in this community,” he said. “It’s time to stand up.”
In fact, state law does not address domestic partnerships or civil unions. Arizona voters in 2006 refused to adopt Prop 108, a constitutional amendment which would have banned domestic partnerships and civil unions in addition to same-sex marriage. In 2008, conservatives placed Prop 102 on the ballot to ban same-sex marriage only. That proposition passed by a margin of 56% to 44%.
However, there is a possibility that Bisbee’s civil unions ordinance may be successfully challenged in court. The ordinance addresses, for example adoption rights, which are regulated by state law. These clauses are moot in the city of Bisbee since there are no adoption agencies in the city. But even if there were, those agencies would be regulate by state law, which cannot be superseded by a city ordinance. Horne has promised to challenge the law in court. The Center for Arizona Policy, an official state policy council for Focus On the Family, has also promised to sue, and threatened additionally to bankrupt the city.
And you can safely bet your life savings that the neanderthal state legislature will quickly act to patch any other legal holes they can find to ban local governments from recognizing same-sex relationships altogether. After all, it’s one of two things our state government loves to do more than anything else in the world. The other is panicking over made-up stores about kidnapping, headless corpses and other wild imaginings from the anti-immigration crowd.
In 2010, Bisbee was named the gay-friendliest city in Arizona. You can read more about Bisbee here.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.