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Religious Tolerance logo


Same-sex marriages (SSM) and LGBT rights
In Arizona

Part 3:

2014-OCT:
More reactions to legalizing same-sex marriage
.

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This discussion of same-sex marriage in Arizona is continued from the previous essay.

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More reactions to the District Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriages (Cont'd):

Reporters Alia Beard Rau and Mary Jo Pitzl, writing for The Republic wrote:

"Chris Kelly, deputy clerk of the Maricopa County Superior Court, said:

'We had been planning for several months,' including seeking advice from officials in other states on their marriage-license transition,' Kelly said.

'Couples can now choose the wording on their licenses from among the words 'bride,' 'groom' or 'spouse.'

Phoenix made city judges available to perform marriage ceremonies in Mayor Greg Stanton's conference room Friday afternoon. Stanton passed out banana butter cream cake to the newlyweds."

Governor Jan Brewer (R) issued a statement saying:

"... with their rulings, the federal courts have again thwarted the will of the people and further eroded the authority of states to regulate and uphold our laws."

Webmaster's note: (Bias alert)

I personally do not hold the federal courts responsible for this and other rulings that have required marriage equality across the country. The responsibility lies with the framers of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution who wrote its due process and equal protection clauses. Once the federal, state and local governments are required by this Amendment to treat persons -- and thus couples -- equally, same-sex marriages become inevitable.

If a state law violated the federal Constitution, then many would agree that the state should abandon such laws willingly or be forced to do so by a court order.

Attorney General Tom Horne (R) followed suit by posting a statement on his web site:

"A number of Attorneys General have refused to defend laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I have not been among that group. I have fought to defend the laws as passed by the voters of Arizona, which I believe is the duty of the Attorney General.

Both the Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled against us, and the United States Supreme Court has shown an unwillingness to accept review in the case of three other circuits in essentially identical circumstances.

The decision I make today has to be based on legal considerations rather than policy considerations. I believe the first duty of the Attorney General is to be a good lawyer.

Lawyers live under a rule called Rule 11, which provides that it is unethical for a lawyer to file a pleading for purposes of delay rather than to achieve a result.

The probability of persuading the 9th circuit to reverse today’s decision is zero. The probability of the United States Supreme Court accepting review of the 9th circuit decision is also zero.

Therefore, the only purpose to be served by filing another appeal would be to waste the taxpayer’s money. That is not a good conservative principle.

I have decided not to appeal today’s decision, which would be an exercise in futility, and which would serve only the purpose of wasting taxpayers’ money.

I am issuing a letter today to the 15 county clerks of court with the directive that based on today’s decision by the Federal District Court, they can issue licenses for same sex marriages immediately." 4

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The Arizona Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops issued a statement, saying:

"As Catholic bishops, we remain committed to affirming the truth about marriage and its goodness for all of society. It is our fervent hope that the Supreme Court will eventually reconsider the issue of marriage in the future."

Cathi Herrod, President of the Center for Arizona Policy -- the group providing the most dedicated support for the same-sex marriage ban --issued a statement saying:

I am heartbroken for a country and a state that has had the redefinition of marriage forced upon them by an out-of-control federal judiciary. Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its ethical foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on timeless principles." 1,2

The Editorial Board of The Arizona Republic wrote:

"... we will soon find out if the institution of marriage can withstand the flood of loving couples who wish to formalize their relationship and avail themselves of all the legal protections heterosexual couples have long taken for granted.

We expect it will do just fine. It hasn't suffered in any of the 30 other states where gays and lesbians now unite in matrimony.

Oh, there will be those who lash out at judges who uphold constitutional principles over popular passions. There will be those who insist that 'God still ordains marriage to only be the union of one man and one woman,' as Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod did this morning in an email blast that promises to 'redouble our efforts to rebuild a culture of marriage.'

They are free to do so. Churches can continue to decide who they will marry. That is their constitutional right. ..."

"Marriage is not solely a religious rite. In our secular society, it is a civil institution that bestows legal rights and responsibilities. Married couples can direct the upbringing of their children, rather than having to decide which one will be listed as the parent.

They can own community property. A spouse can see the other in the hospital or have a say in medical care without being turned away as an unrelated person. At last, committed same-sex couples in Arizona will have these basic civil rights. 3

Same-sex marriage has come to the state permanently. Arizona become the 31st state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. This means that 63% of the political jurisdictions in the U.S. have attained marriage equality by 2014-OCT-17. This includes the District of Columbia and 31 states.

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2014-OCT: Reaction by Arizona Legislators:

There appears to be a growing acceptance among many religious and social conservatives that same-sex marriage will inevitable come to the entire U.S. Some are switching their efforts away from resisting marriage equality and towards carving out protections for conservatives who own "public accomodations;" these are for-profit businesses that provide goods and services to the general public. The new goal will be for public accomodations to be able freely discriminate against LGBT customers for religious reasons without runing afoul of local or state human rights legislation.

During early 2014, there was a high level of opposition Senate Bill 1062 which would have facilitated discrimination against protected groups -- including the LGBT community -- when motivated by religious beliefs. Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the bill.

Some Republicans in the Arizona Legislature are proposing toe resurrect Bill 1062. Other Republicans are opposed. Meanwhile, some Democrats favor new anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community, and an deletion of a section in a state law that gives preferences to married opposite sex couples who wish to adopt.

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Same-sex marriage now seems secure in Arizona.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Courts knock down gay marriage bans in Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming," Reuters, 2014-OCT-17, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  2. Alia Beard Rau and Mary Jo Pitzl, et al. "Arizona gay marriage legal; couples marry immediately," The Arizona Republic, 2014-OCT-17, at: http://www.azcentral.com/
  3. Editorial board, The Republic, "Marriage, the institution, just got stronger." The Arizona Republic, 2014-OCT-18, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  4. "Attorney General Tom Horne Will Not Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Ruling," Attorney General's office, 2014-OCT-17, at: https://www.azag.gov/
  5. "Arizona lawmakers consider response to fall of same-sex marriage ban," LGBTQNATION, 2014-OCT-22, at: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2014-OCT-20
Latest update: 2014-OCT-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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