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09/30/2008

The AZ ban: It's not so EZ

by Jeremy Hooper

On the topic of the state's proposed marriage ban, The Arizona Republic has run a piece simply rife with annoying comments.  Here are some excerpts along with our thoughts:

"We are not against anything," said Barbara Willis, president of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, a ministry organization that has poured $100,000 into the campaign supporting Proposition 102. "We support marriage as one man and one woman."

Yes, Ms. Willis, you are against us.  No, no, don't argue -- you are.  Ya see because when it comes to the damage that these marriage amendments have on gay couples, you, as a supporter of the ban, do not have the right or even ability to speak to the ban's ill effects.  And denying that your actions are are discriminatory will do nothing to change the fact that this and every ban will be remembered for all of recorded history as biased, unjust, cruel, mean-spirited, and thoroughly un-American.

This time, the measure is not weighted down with multiple clauses and provisions. Proposition 102 is 20 words long.

"Because it's so clear, it's very easy for people to get their arms around it," said Kelly Molique, a married Scottsdale mother of two who has volunteered to talk in support of the amendment. "It keeps it real simple."

Yes, Ms. Molique, it is "simple."  The problem with that?  Life is complex.  Humanity exists along a vast spectrum, not an unaccommodating sliver.  And this and every "simple" ban cruelly overlooks a rich, vibrant portion of the population.  While you might see this particular ban as easy for folks to get their arms around, have you even stopped to consider that there are hundreds of thousands of your fellow residents who are made uneasy by the proposed amendment?  These residents are sick and tired of being legally estranged to the person they love to put their arms around!  For them, the only thing that is simpler than the wording of the myopic ban is their ability to realize just how inappropriate it is!

"A supreme court of Arizona could, in five years, have a different view of things," said attorney Tim Casey, who is working in favor of Proposition 102. "You just never know what's going to happen."

That's why a constitutional amendment is needed, on top of the law, he said. A law can be declared unconstitutional, but the constitution can't be found unconstitutional.

Well first off -- yes, amendments can absolutely be remedied.  It's admittedly more difficult to obtain a correction or repeal (via U.S Supreme Court, another referendum, etc.), but it's not even close to impossible.  In fact, we would be willing to bet (hope?) that we're only a decade or so shy of EVERY state anti-gay amendment being deemed inappropriate.  Why?  Because they go against everything that a fair constitution is and should be!  And the American public, with every eighteen birthday, is becoming a more gay-friendly mass of people.  The misjudgment that led to the approval and passage of these nasty amendments says nothing about their value or propriety (or, really, constitutionality), and none of their supporters should find comfort in the ability they had in obtaining majority approval.  The last laugh may be preceded by years of tears, but it will ultimately belong to the gay community.  That's a promise.

Also, you on the anti-gay side really need to rethink your views on the judicial system.  If there is a possibility that a court might lay down the path towards marriage equality, do you ever stop and think that maybe there is a reason for that?  Like, say, oh, I don't know: BECAUSE TAX-PAYING GAY AND LESBIAN CITIZENS DESERVE EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW!  The potential for marriage equality doesn't speak to the need for a ban -- it speaks to the need for social conservatives to rethink their limited worldviews!

Supporters such as Molique and Frank Macias, chairman of Yes for Marriage, say they don't see much change in Arizona if Proposition 102 passes.

But if it fails, Macias says, anything is possible. "Who knows what the danger could be?" he said.

Macias, who has been married for more than 30 years, said the Yes campaign is not anti-gay but, rather, in favor of one of the fundamental building blocks of society.

"We're certainly not against the homosexual, the gay people," he said. "If they want to establish their own relationships, that's OK."

Ugh, again with the "we're not against gays" promise.  But since we've addressed it above, we're not going to rehash.  Instead, let's talk about the idea that nothing will change under the amendment, but everything could change without it.  That is a totally self-absorbed notion that, like most every comment featured here, totally overlooks the portion of the population that realistically, tangibly exists in an LGBT state.  And the idea that quality for this sect is nothing more than a slippery slope is fear-mongering at its Bush era worst.

Finally and arguably most importantly: We don't need a social conservative's permission to establish our own relationships, Mr. Macias.  We are not dogs waiting for whatever bones you feel like throwing us.  We are human-fricking-beings!  What we are seeking is to be treated as what we are: EQUALS.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Human beings who don't have to jump through any hoop or step into any alternate line in order to establish our relationships.  Humans who can, 30 years from now, also have our three decades-old marriages mentioned in a local newspaper article.  Except of course our article will not feature us trying to deny our fellow citizens the peaceful goals that they seek.  We would never be so brazen.

Marriage definition returns to Ariz. ballot [AZ Republic]

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Your thoughts

The Constitutional amendment known as Proposition 2 was passed in Colorado, but later declared unconstitutional by the Colorado Supreme court in Even v Romer, and this was later upheld by the US Supreme Court in Romer v Even..
This prop basically prohibited government entities like Aspen from enacting laws prohibiting discrimination against gays. The court reasoned that prop 2 kept one minority group from proposing legislation in their interest which didn't apply to any other group.

So Constitutional amendments can be declared unconstitutional if they conflict with other, more fundamental constitutional provisions.

Posted by: Bill Ware | Sep 30, 2008 8:02:32 PM

Thanks for the great post and for calling attention to the marriage amendment battle in Arizona.

Check out Arizona Together's TV commercial! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DipQctQ6J1Q

Folks, Arizona Together needs money immediately to get this on the air. One TV spot costs $375. Please go to http://www.aztogether.org and donate generously.

Thank you!

Posted by: ArizonaDave | Oct 1, 2008 1:41:13 AM

Do you know how Prop 102 is currently polling in AZ? I tried to find something about it but had no luck.

Posted by: Phil in Colorado | Oct 1, 2008 1:58:32 AM

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