Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Action Alert: Volume One - By Mark R. Kerr

During her weekly press conference, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, publicly expressed her opposition she opposes amending the Arizona Constitution to ban Gay and Lesbian marriage and called the November vote on the issue unnecessary. Governor Napolitano called the proposal a "prophylactic" constitutional amendment, one that isn't needed because courts have upheld a state law that bans same sex marriage.

Former Arizona Gay Republican Congressman, Jim Kolbe of Tucson, announced his renunciation of his open support for current state Senate President and candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress for Kolbe’s old seat, Tim Bee. According to the Sierra Vista Herald who initially broke the story and subsequent follow-ups by other news outlets, Kolbe would not give the reason why for the break with Bee’s campaign as honorary chair, holding a fund raiser for Bee in Washington D.C.

One can surmise that is was because of Bee being the 16th vote to getting a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as "a union between one man and one woman" on the November general election ballot despite current state law and court precedent but Kolbe won’t say why his renunciation, something that isn’t new for Kolbe, who won’t renounce his vote for the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 - despite the recent admission that it was wrong, by the drafter of the bill, former Republican Congressman and current Libertarian Presidential candidate, Bob Barr.

When it comes to issues of concern to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and HIV/AIDS communities, it is imperative to ensure that our collective voice plays a role in government and that we are “heard,” and with the upcoming elections, there is a lot of work to be accomplished between now and November.

As of press time, it will be less than a month before the deadline (August 4) to be registered for the September 2 primary election as well as early voting (July 31) commences and the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities must take part in these important elections to ensure that “our voice” does not go silent. In the next few issues, this column will cover the races of note.

For Congress in Southern Arizona, it is a “political no-brainer,” since the community is lucky to have such good, honorable public servants, U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords serving in the U.S. House. Neither faces a primary opponent but will have a general election campaign to run against their Republican challengers. Call (520) 629-0050 or go online to or for Gabrielle Giffords, (520) 512-0012 or online at

In the Republican controlled Arizona Legislature, recently adjourned after their fourth longest session ever (166 days) passing a craptacular budget and approving legislation dealing with horsetripping, botox injections, guns in the class room and putting a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a “union between a man and a woman” on the November general election ballot, it is imperative to select people who will serve the interests of the people, not the interests of lobbyists and groups such as the homophobic, Center for Arizona Policy.

Of the primary contests in the Legislative Districts (LD), there are two of note that the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities can play a pivotal part, the Democratic contests for the (LD) 27 House and the (LD) 29 House. In Southern Arizona, there some districts that will have primary contests for the Republican nominations for the House and Senate but when can the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities expect anything from them, when they support measures to create “wedge issues” out of people, based on their gender, race, national origin and sexual orientation, perceived or otherwise.

In LD 27, House Democratic leader, state Representative Phil Lopes and state Representative Olivia Cajero-Bedford, two strong friends to the LGBT community are being challenged by former state Representative and now perennial candidate, John Kromko. It’s time for the community to step up and help Phil and Olivia out in this campaign. To reach Phil Lopes’ campaign, E-mail the campaign at or call (520) 743-9258 and call (520) 623-1992, or E-mail: Olivia’s campaign.

With the retirement of state Senator Victor Soltero and the unopposed ascension by current state Representative and LGBT ally, Linda Lopez to the state’s upper chamber, a donnybrook has erupted to see who will succeed Lopez in the House. This contest could have unintended, negative consequences for the LGBT community if current state Representative Tom Prezelski is left out of the voting come September 2.

Prezelski has been active and ardent supporter of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities through his past actions, amendments, legislation and statements made on behalf during the legislative session and especially this most recent marathon that took place at 1700 West Washington. He has been there when we needed him and its time to return that favor by helping his campaign out and for more information, either call Tom at (520) 349-9045 or E-mail him at

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