Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CAP is CRAP - By Mark R. Kerr

Soon to be featured most likely in Tucson’s afternoon daily newspaper, also known as the Arizona Republic’s ugly stepchild, the Tucson Citizen is a fictional ditty from Cathi Herrod and Peter Gentala from the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), entitled “We Must Prevent Gay Marriage in Arizona,” which ran in the Tuesday, May 20 edition of the Republic.

First is the opening in which the “unelected” California Supreme Court is derided, to the surprise of no one, over their recent decision in regards to marriage, criticized for their ruling which is interesting since the California Supreme Court justices are initially appointed but then face a retention vote by the “will of the people.”

Cathi and Peter ignored the fact and the record that the California Assembly and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved and signed into law a measure creating “domestic partnerships” giving all but a few rights that opposite sex couples have to same-sex couples in loving, committed relationships - thus creating the legal challenge that the California courts ruled on, stating separate is not equal because of the state’s equal protection clause in their constitution. Plessy V. Ferguson and Brown V. Board of Education, remember?

Another interesting point ever so conveniently missed by the ruling is that the court gave the California Assembly an out by giving them the opportunity to revisit and revise the law to create an equal recognition of relationships. Civil unions for all perhaps?

Further in this fictional ditty, they state it can happen in Arizona since “ . . . we face the exact same threat as California of having unelected judges trample on the will of the people.” In Arizona, there is voter retention of judges as well.

The people of California, through their representatives in the State legislature, twice approved a bill to provide for the inclusion of same-sex couples in their "marriage" laws, but both times, the bill was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said when he vetoed it that he believed "it is up to the state Supreme Court" to decide the issue.

“That's exactly why Arizona voters should have the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage in November,” is the next sentence following in Cathi and Peter’s piece, but they don’t want the people, a minimum of 230,047 registered Arizona voters, to sign petitions, as other organizations with proposed state constitutional amendments are doing, they want the Arizona Legislature to give them a free handout, to the tune of roughly $500,000, and place their proposal on the November general election ballot.

Sound familiar? Flash back a dozen years to 1996, when the then President of CAP, Len Munsil - the former 2006 Republican gubernatorial nominee, drafted the law (Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 25-101 and ARS 25-112), defining marriage as between “one man and one woman,” and not having the people vote on it but getting it approved by the Arizona Legislature and signed into law by then Governor Fife Symington.

“Opponents of allowing the people to decide on marriage claim that an amendment is unnecessary in Arizona because of a court ruling from 2003. That is absurd. What happened in California can happen here,” they wrote.

Covering up the truth for convenience can be the nicest term to use in this part of Cathi and Peter’s piece since it was the court case Standhardt V. Superior Court they are referring to. In this, the plaintiffs challenged the Arizona statutes on 34 instances and the courts, including the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the laws were constitutional and thus, court precedent some that is followed in the judicial branch of government, something you think Peter would know being a lawyer.

Cathi and Peter end their written diatribe with “ . . . The definition of marriage is not a judge's decision. It's not a politician's decision. Let Arizonans decide the future of marriage in our state.” Interesting to say the least since CAP went through politicians to define their view of marriage and were happy in 2004 with the Arizona court decision and the voters told Cathi, Peter and CAP, that they were crap with their ballot proposition in 2006 on the same subject!

No comments: