Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bigotry’s Cost - The Bottom Line: By Mark R. Kerr

Arizona’s candidates for political office, ballot measure committees’ and other groups involved in this year’s election had to file their Post-Primary, finance reports to Arizona’s Secretary of State.

Of the various races and ballot measures, supporters of Proposition 102 - the proposed amendment to Arizona’s constitution to define marriage as “only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state,” despite Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 25-101, 25-112) and court precedent (Standhardt V. Superior Court) which has already done so, has raised a significant amount of money for their “wedge issue”campaign.

Proposition 102 is a “wedge issue” campaign because according to the Post-Primary campaign finance report filed by, the proponents of this ballot measure, two expenses listed are to Campaign Secrets and Public Opinion Strategies, a national Republican political consulting company and a national Republican polling firm, respectively, to get those voters so inclined, to take part in this year’s election by getting to the polls to elect Republicans and smear the queers as has been done in 27 other states in prior elections thanks to the GOP’s “savior,” Karl Rove.

As reported previously in this column and publication, it has cost taxpayers a total of $1,861,282.56 to get Proposition 102 on the ballot, thanks to the Republican led and controlled Arizona Legislature and Jan Brewer - Arizona’s Republican Secretary of State and supporter of the measure but the cost doesn’t stop there since this has been a “wedge issue” for the Republicans in Arizona, going back to the original approval of the law, known as the Arizona Defense of Marriage Act (Arizona DOMA), during another election year, in 1996.

Thanks to the then Speaker of the Arizona House, state Representative Jeff Groscost, a Republican from Mesa, who introduced Arizona DOMA (drafted by Len Munsil and the Center for Arizona Policy - the main proponents behind this year’s Proposition 102 and in 2006, Proposition 107 - turned down by the voters in the general election that year) on April 8, 1996, as a strike-everything amendment to a bill, S.B. 1038, threatening Democratic members of the Legislature with political retribution if they dared oppose the bill for which they promptly caved.

A total of four legislative days were used, costing the taxpayers $152,401.09 (or $38,100.27 for each legislative day according to the House and Senate operational budget for that fiscal year) to consider and pass S.B. 1038 and Fife Symington, the soon to be indicted, convicted, removed from office and later-pardoned, Governor, signed into law on May 1, 1996.

Flash forward seven years to 2003, when Arizona DOMA was challenged in court in the case of Standhardt V. Superior Court, which was first heard in Maricopa County Superior Court and upheld in the court ruling and after the subsequent appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2004, ARS 25-101 and ARS 25-112 were the law.

It was the Arizona Attorney General’s office, under Terry Goddard who represented the Maricopa County Superior Court and the Clerk, the defendants in the matter, costing the taxpayers $22,349.02 for 530.1 hours, according to Anne Hilby, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office.

So for Arizona DOMA, defense of the statutes and subsequent ballot measure, the Republican’s bigotry has cost taxpayers alone, a total of $2,036,032.67 and for this year’s ballot measure, countless more for laws that have been on the books for a dozen years, all in the name of Republican politics.

No comments: