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Posts for October, 2008

AZ State Senator Blasted For Role In Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 8th, 2008

In a debate held in Southern Arizona yesterday, two candidates for Congress sparred over one candidate’s role in placing Proposition 102, Arizona’s so-called “marriage amendment,” on the ballot.

First-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Gabrielle Giffords blasted her challenger, State Sen. Tim Bee (R-Tucson), over his role in the contentious final night of the legislative session when he cast the sixteenth, deciding vote to put the proposition on the ballot. According to the Arizona Daily Star:

Giffords’ sharpest attack on Bee, the outgoing president of the state Senate, was blaming him for a blowup on the last night of the 2008 legislative session, when several pieces of legislation died in the wake of a combative debate about sending a measure to define marriage to the November ballot.

“The individuals that I know that work at the state Legislature reported that the end of the session was the worst end that anyone could remember in the history of the state Legislature,” Giffords said. “Crying. Tears. Bills that were left undone.

“When we talk about leadership as the Senate president there’s an opportunity to really lead,” she said, declaring her opposition to what is now Proposition 102. Specifically, Giffords pointed out a solar-energy bill and guest-worker proposal failed to get a final vote.

Arizona has the most sunshine of any state in the union, yet Bee and his cronies shoved aide a badly needed solar-energy bill. Arizona has one in four schools that don’t meet federal standards, and we have more than a million Arizonans without access to affordable health care. Oh yeah, there’s also a widening state budget deficit of $3 Billion, and that will only get worse with a state economy that has been shedding jobs over the past several months.

But what does Bee think is more important? A proposition that Arizona voters already said no to two years ago.

Please help us tell them to trust the people and to work on issues that are really important. Please give generously today.

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!

AZ Politicians Run Away from Prop 102

Jim Burroway

October 5th, 2008

It’s amazing. Last June, 49 state legislators in Phoenix decided that making same-sex marriage even more illegaler in this state was more important than solving the budget deficit or problems with education, immigration, health care or energy policy (Arizona has more sunshine than any other state in the union — helloooo!). They even thought it was so important that they were willing to break their own rules in the process.

But now, ask any of those same legislators if they support Prop 102 and just watch how they duck and weave on what ought to be a simple yes or no question — you know, the yes or no question that they actually put on the ballot.

The Arizona Daily Star sent a questionnaire to state legislative candidates, and of the responses they got back, twelve candidates said they opposed Prop 102 and only three said they supported it. Ten more couldn’t give it a straight answer. See if you can figure out where these candidates stand:

“My wife and I have been married for 17 years,” wrote Republican Frank Antenori, a candidate for the House in District 30. “I believe that marriage is an important institution that strengthens society and I support it.” What’s “it”? Marriage or the amendment?

In the primary, Antenori was a bit more direct, answering “yes” but adding: “If you want to get married, fine; that’s between you, your spouse and your God, not the government.” So, isn’t that a “no”?

Republican Jonathan Paton, running for the Senate in the same district, was even more indirect: “I supported the effort to let my constituents vote for it.” OK. But that wasn’t the question.

Democrat Olivia Cajero Bedford, running for re-election in District 27, did not give a direct answer, instead saying she would support the move if it “had clearly stated that (marriage) cannot be one man, one woman and three girlfriends.”

And Democrat Barbara McGuire, an incumbent in District 23, said, “My personal opinion is that definition of marriage would apply to a man and woman, however, in the case of amending the constitution, it is up to the voters.”

Rep. Paton not only voted to place Prop 102 on the ballot, he was also a co-sponsor of the bill.

Rep. Cajero Bedford (one of two house representatives for my district) voted against putting Prop 102 on the ballot — which makes her indirect answer against prop 102 somewhat puzzling.

Rep. McGuire didn’t cast a vote when the measure came up in the House, and because placing an amendment proposal on the ballot requires a majority of all house members and not just of those present, her non-vote had the same effect as a “no” vote. It just didn’t go on the record.

And of course, we already saw State Sen. Tim Bee, one of the amendment’s early co-sponsors, wish the question would just disappear barely two weeks after he voted for it.

Arizona Needs Your Help

Jim Burroway

October 3rd, 2008

Remember the state that became the first in the nation to defeat a so-called “marriage amendment” in 2006? Arizona desperately needs your help today in 2008:

Supporters of a measure that would change Arizona’s constitution to ban gay marriage have raised $6.9 million, 17 times more than opponents have raised, according to figures released Thursday.

Arizona became the first state in the nation to defeat the so-called marriage amendment in 2006. Today, our opponents are furious that they lost, and they are pouring millions of dollars into the state to upset the will of the voters. They threatened and coerced the legislature to put this on the ballot because they didn’t want to spend the money to mount a petition campaign. In other words, there has not been a single Arizona voter who signed on to have this put on the ballot. The legislatures actions amounted to a several hundred thousand dollar gift to put this on the ballot for free.

On the positive side, I firmly believe that Arizona is about to lose its distinction of being the only state to turn back one of these amendments — because this year California and Florida will have their own victories to add to the tally. And that will be reason for a huge celebration next month.

However, if things don’t change soon, then Arizona will lose something else: our historic 2006 victory. And if that happens, then the victories in Florida and California won’t be secure. If Arizona loses in 2008 what we won in 2006, our opponents will learn a very important lesson. If they don’t like the answer they got this year, all they have to do is come back again in a couple of years, spend millions of more dollars, and wear us down until they finally get what they want.

I am optimistic that we can defeat this proposed amendment in Arizona. Our internal polling shows that we don’t have to match our opponents dollar-for-dollar in funding. We don’t even have to come close. They’ve spend millions of dollars in the past two weeks, but the polling numbers haven’t budged by a single percentage point since we fielded our own poll last June. They’ve spent millions, the votes for their side haven’t budged one iota. Which means that so far, they’ve been wasting their millions.

Our internal polling also shows that there are huge numbers of “yes” voters who don’t believe that this proposed amendment is important. Our polling also shows that our message can not only sway large numbers of undecided voters, but “yes” voters as well. We know we can do this.

But we cannot actually change the vote until we get our message out to the voters. And television and radio ads cost a lot of money.

So we need your help. Please give as generously as you can. Because this has implications not just for Arizona, but for California and Florida as well. If we really want to secure our victories, it is imperative that we tell them that no really means no.

Otherwise, they’ll just come back again in a few more years in California and Florida.

Update: Just $102 to the No on Prop 102 campaign can place two radio ads on the air during drive time, and $375 to Arizona Together can get one television spot on the air. Please give generously today.

And please forward this to everyone you know.

NYTimes Opposes Prop 8, Prop 102, and Prop 2

Timothy Kincaid

September 29th, 2008

Although there is no consideration of an amendment in New York to ban gay marriage, New Yorkers are impacted by the results of the vote on Proposition 8. Currently, same-sex couples in the Empire State will have their marriages recognized at home if they are conducted in a location where they are legal. If Prop 8 passes, New Yorkers will be limited to Massachusetts and foreign nations.

So the New York Times has taken an editorial position in opposition to Proposition 8 and to the propositions in Arizona and Florida.

Whether this important civil rights victory endures is now up to California voters. Opponents of giving gay couples the protections, dignity and respect that come with marriage are working furiously to try to overturn the court ruling through Proposition 8. It is our fervent hope that Californians will reject this mean-spirited attempt to embed second-class treatment of one group of citizens in the State Constitution.

Similar discriminatory measures are on the ballot in Arizona and Florida. They also should be rejected.

AZ Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Prop 102

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2008

More than thirty members of clergy met last Tuesday to speak out against Arizona’s Prop 102. In a press conference before local media, the clergy gathered to voice their concerns over religious meddling in the state constitution.

We’ve posted several articles at Box Turtle Bulletin highlighting the efforts of at least one religious denomination seeking to impose its theological views into the constitutions of Arizona and California, sometimes raising alarm among some of that denomination’s members. These Tucson clergy members have a different view: keep politics out of marriage, and keep theology out of the constitution so that all people can live freely according to their beliefs.  From the Arizona Daily Star:

Tucson religious leaders who oppose Arizona’s marriage amendment spoke against it Tuesday, with many questioning why the measure is before voters again after it was defeated two years ago.

Rabbi Helen Cohn spoke of Jewish Scriptures in urging people to vote against Proposition 102, which would amend the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.

… Cohn said endorsing the amendment based on religious beliefs blurs the line between religious life and secular life. “Legislation based on one group’s religious beliefs is completely contrary to all this country stands for,” she said.

The Rev. Anna Bell, pastor of the Mosaic United Methodist Church, said Arizonans were “clear two years ago” in defeating a similar amendment. She said voters now are “ready for solutions to actual problems.”

“Religious beliefs and values are important to many Arizonans, but no religion should be able to use government enforcement to mandate its beliefs for all of us,” she said.

And from the Tucson Citizen:

Prop. 102 opponent the Rev. Frank Bergen, who has served as a priest in both the Roman Catholic Jesuit order and the Episcopal Church, said some people think everybody “should be bound by our religious concept of marriage.”

“Uh, uh; not so,” he said. He said his objection to Prop. 102 is actually rooted in religion. “Proposition 102 offends my sense of justice, and my sense of justice comes right out of my religious faith,” Bergen said.

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.

Mormons and Arizona’s Prop 102

Jim Burroway

September 17th, 2008

A huge dust-up exploded on the front page of the Arizona Daily Star this morning. According to the Star, Kyrsten Sinema, campaign chair for Arizona Together, characterized Proposition 102 as a “mostly Mormon-backed attempt to rectify what it calls a ‘polygamy problem’ in the eyes of voters”:

The opponents’ argument against the ballot measure also rests on convincing voters that Mormons and other religious groups are seeking to “impose their views on people.”

Sinema said the ballot measure is a reflection of the Mormon church “working hard to convince the public that they are mainstream.” She said her background, being raised Mormon in Tucson, gives her the credibility to make the charge.

“I don’t think Arizonans are interested in having the Mormon religion dictate public policy to them,” Sinema said.

Sinema contends that at least three-quarters of the individual donors to the campaign are with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on her group having Googled donor names along with “LDS” or “Mormon.”

While that method of verifying the religion of donors may be questionable, Sinema points to top backers with ties to the Mormon church: $100,000 from philanthropists Rex and Ruth Maughan, and $40,000 from Kristen Cowley, an organizer of the LDS Easter pageant.

Last June, just as the Arizona Legislature voted to place Prop 102 on the ballot, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) sent a letter to California churchesto be read during Sunday services which asked its members to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time.” I have it on good authority from Mormon colleagues that a similar campaign has been underway in Arizona since July.

Proponents of Prop 102 charge that questioning the LDS’s heavy involvement in the marriage battle in Arizona amounts to bigotry:

Michele Baer, spokeswoman for the campaign pushing the amendment, calls the focus on
Mormons a “political scare tactic from the opposition.”

But Baer — herself a Mormon singer — could not explain why voters would be scared of such involvement by Mormons.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m just saying that there is such broad-based support across all political, religious and ethnic backgrounds that support this proposition.”

And Baer wouldn’t comment on where the bulk of the funding is coming from, calling that “campaign strategy.”

“I can’t share,” she said. “They can look at public records.”

It certainly is a matter of public record. A look at the Arizona Secretary of State’s web site reveals that “Yes For Marriage” collected some 190 contributions of $10,000 or higher. Four individuals contributed $100,000, 6 contributed $50,000, and 25 contributed between $20,000 and $50,000. The site, of course, does not list religious affiliation, so it’s difficult to know how many of these contributors are LDS members.

Does anyone have time to google 191 names?

LDS Temple in Mesa, ArizonaBut there is this interesting fact: of the 190 contributions of $10,000 or higher, 70 came from Mesa Arizona — home to Arizona’s oldest LDS Temple and a very significant Mormon population. Mesa contributors include three of the four $100,000 contributors. In fact, the temple is located on a street named for the family of one of those $100,000 contributors — David and Nancy LeSueur.

I fully expect this line of questioning to be very controversial. My email inbox is already full about this. But I do think it is newsworthy that one religious denomination appears to be bankrolling a serious public policy initiative under the guise of a broad-based grass-roots organization. If that doesn’t send a chill down the spines of everyone who cherishes religious liberty, I don’t know what does.

The campaign to defeat Prop 102 is desparately outfunded. We’re struggling to afford radio ads, while the “Yes” side already has ads on television. Please give today, whatever you can.

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!

[Updated at 7:20 PM PDT to include additional information about Mesa, Arizona contributors]

Blog Launched for Vote No on Prop 102

Jim Burroway

September 9th, 2008

No on Prop 102, the grassroots group organized to defeat Arizona’s proposed anti-marriage amendment, has launched a blog, where you can keep up with the latest events, news and volunteer opportunities. Update your bookmarks and check in often.

Why Each State is Important

Timothy Kincaid

September 9th, 2008

There are three anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment propositions on ballots in the upcoming election.

ARIZONA

Arizona has the distinct privilege of being the only state to date that has rejected efforts to instill anti-gay marriage discrimination into its constitution. Anti-gays have claimed that the only reason for their failure was because their last attempt in 2006 also sought to ban other forms of partner recognition and are now offering a “more benign” amendment that only bans same-sex marriage.

The Arizona battle is of tremendous importance.

If anti-gays win in Arizona, this will send a message that persistence pays off. And then future states (like Florida, if we win there) can expect that they will be back each election with an increasingly “nuanced” amendment until they win. But if Arizona rejects Proposition 102, the financial backers of anti-gay marriage amendments will be a bit more reluctant to throw their money into losing efforts.

This state has the unique opportunity to tell anti-gay organizers that “no” means “no” and not to come back for more.

CALIFORNIA

California is only one of two states which offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples. California is also by a significant margin the state with the largest population. And California is often considered a leader in social progress and a setter of trends.

Considering the sheer number of gay families impacted by Proposition 8, and the importance of the state as a leader, the California battle is of tremendous importance.

And this importance is not lost on anti-gays. As Donald Wildman, head of the American Family Association said,

If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I’m afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost.

Hyperbole aside, this is the first time that voters have been voting specifically on marriage itself, rather than on the threat of possible marriage. If Californians vote to keep their same-sex marriages legal, it removes the claims by anti-gays that it is judicial activists and gerrymandered legislatures that are forcefully redefining marriage against the wishes of the populace.

According to the latest polls, voters seem to oppose the proposition and do not appear to be swayed by the efforts of the supporters. But the vote is very very close and no one can predict the outcome.

FLORIDA

The anti-marriage amendment in Florida appears – to me – to receive the least attention of the three, especially on this website. Part of that is because I live in California and Jim Burroway lives in Arizona and so these two states are the focus of our attentions.

Yet the Florida battle is of tremendous importance.

Of the three, only Florida’s amendment would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. Florida’s Proposition 2 reads

In as much as a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

Those who oppose this amendment have an advantage; a constitutional amendment in Florida requires a 60% majority of those voting. Further, because Florida has a large retirement community and because this amendment would impact heterosexual senior citizens who use local domestic partnership arrangements to establish protections without endangering social security benefits, the opposition to this amendment has broader appeal.

The most recent polling shows that the proposition is favored by more than half of the voters (55%), but not by enough to pass. Additionally, it appears to be trending towards those who oppose the amendment. But again, this is far too close for comfort.

Florida is a swing state in the presidential election and turnout could depend on the direction and extent to which the state trends in the next two months. And while it is unlikely that either Obama or McCain will seek to tie their campaign to the success or failure of this amendment, it’s difficult to predict the impact of the election. A surge in either black voters or newly-energized evangelicals could provide those who oppose our lives with additional votes.

The Importance

Collectively, we have the opportunity to send a very strong message this year. Should we win in all three states we will be able to state that those who experience same-sex marriages within their communities have found them to be no threat, that anti-marriage efforts will not win you election in a swing state, and that coming back to a state that has rejected discrimination is a waste of time and money.

So here is a question for our readers: is this issue as important to you as a new pair of shoes? Does it matter as much as that luxury you may be allowing yourself, whether it’s a new car or just dinner out at McDonalds?

Most of us do have some expendable income and even those of us who live very close to the edge can often make sacrifices if the cause is important enough.

This is the most you will ever see me act like a political or religious fundraiser. But I’m willing to sound like Pat Robertson if it will encourage you to take the next step.

Please link below to the state of your choosing and make a contribution today.

Arizona: No on Prop 102

California: No on Prop 8

Florida: No on Prop 2

Tucson Citizen Endores “No” on Prop 102

Jim Burroway

September 8th, 2008

The Tucson Citizen yesterday published two editorials urging voters to vote no on Prop 102, the proposed constitutional amendment to further ban same-sex marriage. The first editorial, an op-ed by Arizona State Sen. Paula Aboud recounts the legislative debacle which led to Prop 102 appearing on the ballot, and concludes:

Opponents say, ‘Let the people vote.’ We did vote in 2006, they just didn’t like how the people voted. Don’t write discrimination into the Arizona Constitution. Vote no on Prop. 102 – again.

The Citizen’s editorial board backed Paula’s op-ed with an editorial of their own:

Constitutions historically have been altered to expand rights. Think of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which secured civil rights for former slaves. Or the 19th Amendment, which gave women the vote.

But, as Sen. Paula Aboud chronicles in a guest column below, a conservative fringe group bullied Arizona legislators into putting Prop. 102 on the ballot, even though it would imprint the state constitution with the language of intolerance.

We need to send a message to the rest of the U.S. that discrimination is not what Arizona is about. We need to send a message to legislators – think of it as dropping them a card – to stop monkeying with our constitution and to get to work on real issues facing the state.

With all of the attention being paid to the battle in California, we are facing a serious funding shortfall in Arizona. Supporters of Prop 102 have raised about $3 million. We are way behind. Please give TODAY, as generously as you can.

Money Pouring In For AZ Marriage Ban

Jim Burroway

September 8th, 2008

Money is pouring in for Arizona’s backers of the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage:

While many of the citizens initiatives on Arizona’s November ballot have been bankrolled by special interests, a measure to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman has received an influx of campaign contributions from individuals in recent weeks.

The Yes for Marriage campaign pulled in more than $2.3 million from 160 donors across the state since the secretary of state’s reporting period that ended Aug. 13. That brought the campaign’s total to about $3 million.

Most contributions have been between $10,000 and $25,000. But Jeff and Holly Whiteman of Mesa gave $100,000, as did Gary and Lori Wagner of Peoria and the Pete King Corp. of Phoenix.

We desparately need your support. The longer LGBT’s and allies sit on the sidelines, our 2006 victory will turn into a 2008 loss. Which means that Focus On the Family will be able to draw the conclusion that if they don’t like how voters decide one year, all they have to do is come back again the next time.

Please give TODAY, as generously as you can.

Analysis: California Voters Are Rejecting Prop. 8

Gregory Herek

August 29th, 2008

Supporters of marriage equality got some good news last night when the results of the latest statewide poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California were released.

The telephone survey of 2,001 California adults, including 1,047 likely voters, reveals that Proposition 8 –­ the proposed constitutional amendment to bar same-sex couples from marrying — is losing badly. Among likely voters, only 40% plan to vote for the amendment, compared to 54% who say they will vote against it. The remaining 6% are undecided. (The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.)

Opposition to Prop. 8 doesn’t come exclusively from those who say they generally favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. The sample was evenly split on that question -­ 47% of likely voters favoring marriage equality and 47% opposing it. Thus, consistent with other polls, some respondents who don’t personally support marriage equality nevertheless oppose enacting anti-equality legislation. Indeed, Prop. 8 is supported by only 69% of the likely voters who generally oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Prop. 8 backers tried to find a ray of hope in the PPIC data, noting that amendment supporters were more likely to say the outcome of the vote is “very important” to them ­- 57% versus 44% of amendment opponents.

In my latest post at Beyond Homophobia, I explain why the math behind this claim is flawed. I also discuss the poll findings in depth and consider their implications for the Proposition 8 campaign.

AZ Ballot Will Describe Prop 102 With Legally Accurate Language

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2008

A headline like that should be a given, but — this being Arizona — one cannot always take such things for granted.

Thanks to a deal between Secretary of State Jan Brewer and Attorney General Terry Goddard, the November ballot describing Prop 102, Arizona’s latest anti-marriage amendment, will remind voters that Arizona law already bans same-sex marriage. This clarification is especially important this year with all the attention being given to California, where same-sex marriage is currently available. Not only is there intense national attention on California, but a large portion of Arizonans live in California media markets.

Similar language was placed on the ballot for a previous anti-marriage amendment in 2006. That amendment was defeated by nearly 3.6%, making Arizona the only state in the union to have turned back an attempt to further ban same-sex marriage in the constitution.

Prop 102 supporters have filed suit against Brewer and Goddard, demanding that any reference to state law be stripped from the ballot descriptions. The lawsuit, however, may be too late. The final go-ahead was given Tuesday night to start printing the publicity pamphlets, which will be sent to the home of every registered voter. The pamphlets, like the ballots themselves, will have the agreed-upon description.

Arizona has had a law banning same-sex marriage since 1996. That law also bans recognizing same-sex marriages conducted in other states. On October 8, 2003, a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the Arizona Defense of Marriage law against a challenge brought by two men who were denied a marriage license by a court clerk. The Arizona Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal on May 25, 2004.

Supporters of Prop 102 have out-fundraised opponents by more than 150:1. Please support our campaign to defeat Prop 102 again.

Arizona - Vote No On Proposition 102 - Again!

Where Has Burroway Been?!?

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2008

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. And the way things are shaping up, I won’t be posting much between now and the election.

Last week, I was selected to serve as co-chair of the Vote No on Prop 102 campaign. Vote No on Prop 102 is a broad based coalition of citizens working at the community level to conduct a grass-roots “retail” campaign to get out the vote and carry the message on Prop 102 to the different constituencies. We will be focusing our efforts on southern Arizona , but we are also interested in facilitating similar efforts elsewhere in the state.

The reason we’ve chosen to focus on Southern Arizona is threefold: 1) it’s where we are, 2) we haven’t been able to raise much money, and we need to make sure it is used effectively, and 3) Southern Arizona is where our greatest opportunity lies in defeating Prop 102. Let me explain.

In 2006, Arizona defeated a similar marriage amendment by 3.6 percentage points. Five counties voted to defeat the amendment, and the remaining ten voted to approve it. The largest margin of votes came from Pima County in Southern Arizona, which defeated the proposition by 42,806 votes, or 15.6%.  That margin was large enough that even if all the other four counties which defeated the amendment had merely tied, the proposition would have still gone down by 18,532 votes state wide — 1.2% — on the strength of Pima County’s vote alone. Pima County was the only county to provide a large enough margin to guarantee defeat in 2006, and it is imperative that the grass-roots effort which worked to ensure that margin is repeated again in 2008.

This is not to say that working in other counties to defeat the amendment is not important. We are working alongside Equality Arizona on similar grass-roots efforts throughout the state. But based on voter data from 2006 and the successful grass-roots campaign that was waged throughout Southern Arizona, we feel that the anchor to another victory is in southern Arizona.

Nevertheless, we are also interested in supporting and facilitating grass-roots campaigns in whatever way we can elsewhere in the state, particularly in Apache, Coconino, Maricopa and Santa Cruz counties — all of which contributed to victory in 2006. We are already engaged with local efforts in several communities in Cochise county, and we believe there are similar opportunities in Yavapai and elsewhere. Our financial health will determine the extent of the support and resources we can extend throughout the state, but as you know, our finances are very poor at the moment.

We are busy formulating a campaign plan, we’re lining up some exciting allies, and we will have more information to share as the outlines of the campaign takes shape. We don’t have much time, and more critically, we have very little money. Please do what you can to help and contribute generously.

Thank you.

Forgotten Arizona?

Jim Burroway

August 23rd, 2008

Remember when Arizona became the first and only state in the nation to defeat an anti-marriage amendment in 2006? I don’t know about you, but I’d that that this victory would be one worth preserving. But our national LGBT leaders, movers and shakers — and ordinary contributors — haven’t come through yet:

Funding for a proposal to constitutionally ban gay marriage has hit at least $1.3 million. The largest contributors to Proposition 102 are two Mesa couples, David and Nancy LeSueur and Wilford and Kathleen Andersen, Gary and Lori Wagner of Peoria, and the Pete King Corp. of Phoenix, each of who gave $100,000.

Opponents have so far accumulated less than $8,000.

This disparity is shocking. As of our filing deadline last Thursday, we had only been able to raise $8,000. Since then, we’ve had a great fundraising event at Congressman Raul Grijalva’s office on Friday, and we plan on having more events in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, please do what you can to preserve our 2006 victory and donate to Vote No on Prop 102.

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