State lawmakers' efforts to get a constitutional ban on gay marriage before voters appears all but dead.
The House gave preliminary approval Thursday by a 28-27 vote to put the question on the November ballot. But that OK came only after Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, lined up enough votes to tack on a provision to grant certain rights to unmarried couples living together, whether gay or straight.
That move effectively tied the two issues together as a single ballot question, meaning voters who want to make same-sex weddings unconstitutional would be voting for some constitutional rights for gay couples. A spokesman for House Speaker Jim Weiers, sponsor of HCR 2065, said that is unacceptable and that the Phoenix Republican will now kill his proposal.
There is another version of the bill awaiting Senate action, this one still in its original form solely to constitutionally define marriage in Arizona as between one man and one woman. But Senate President Tim Bee, R-Tucson, the sponsor of that measure, said Thursday night that he will not bring that bill to the floor.
"I don't see any point in it," Bee said. Even if he corrals the 16 votes necessary in his own chamber, he said, the proposal still has to go to the House, where it lacks the necessary support.
The House vote and Bee's decision constitute a major defeat for foes of gay marriage.
Sinema has repeatedly made it clear she opposes the idea of a constitutional ban on gay marriages. She said, though, her amendment was not specifically designed to kill the measure, but "to ensure that, while talking about the issue of same-sex marriage, we also raise the issue that unmarried couples in Arizona should have basic legal rights and protections."
Her provision would guarantee the right to hospital visitation, medical decision-making, funeral and burial arrangements and inheritance to unmarried couples "who are in an emotionally committed relationship that involves shared domestic and economic responsibilities."
I think I love Representative Sinema. That was a brilliant way to knock off the proposed gay marriage ban: make sure that while voting to ban gay marriage, they're also voting to ensure legal protections to gay couples. They won't know which to do! Do they stick with their story that they're only concerned with preserving marriage and vote for the bill, or do they go with their instincts to hurt gay people as much as possible and vote against it?
"We do not want an issue that is this important — marriage, the fundamental building block of society — to be decided by any person other than the people," said Rep. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler.
Really? Is that why you already changed the law to ban gay marriage without putting it on a ballot to go before voters? Or do you just not want gay people getting married?
And it's interesting that he felt he had to throw in the aside that "marriage [is] the fundamental building block of society". The implication is clear: allowing gay marriage would destroy society. Look, even some of the commenters agree:
It is interesting that Rome imploded from within in much the same way; allowing debauchery (sp?), killing of innocents, etc.
Funny, my sources told me that Rome fell because of miscegenation, and that's why we had to pass laws preventing blacks and whites from marrying. Now it's the gays? Why, you'd almost think they're just making shit up to justify a bigoted position they already hold!