Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vote No on Prop. 102: G/L Marriage Will Still Be Illegal - By Neil Schneider

Because most Arizona residents are focused on things that matter like the tanking economy, unemployment, getting loans, rising healthcare costs and immigration, I’d like to spotlight the efforts of the Center for Arizona (CAP) policy who is quietly spending $7 million dollars to “define” marriage in Arizona.

They will use today’s Connecticut decision granting Gay marriage rights as a scare tactic, saying that activist judges may bring Gay marriage to Arizona. News flash to CAP, the world has changed and discrimination is out. Your thoughts on the issue are antiquated. Arizona’s fair-minded voters will not support your archaic ideology.

Here is a brief refresher on the “definition of marriage” history in Arizona. In 2003 the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld current statutory Arizona law, which prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex.

In 2006, voters defeated Prop. 107, an amendment that would have affected thousands of Gay and heterosexual couples, by enshrining discrimination into the Arizona constitution. Arizona remains the only state to reject defining marriage in its constitution. There was no one trying to start Gay marriage in Arizona in 2006 and to this day, no one is.

The 2006 loss cost CAP dearly at the legislature and weakened Kathy Herrod’s political strength. They underestimated the fairness of Arizona voters.

CAP’s 2008 quest to bring this measure back to the ballot failed with lack of support through normal legislative channels, so in the 12th hour of the legislative session, Senator Jack Harper, R- Surprise, broke longstanding Senate rules and even turned off fellow Senators’ microphones to get what CAP wanted. Harper turned off other Senator’s microphones. On the playground, that is called cheating. A formal ethics complaint could not undo the damage, so the divisive Prop. 102 was allowed to reach the ballot with just 16 votes.

If Prop. 102 passes, you will see CAP immediately file lawsuits to stop cities, counties, universities and the state from providing any of the few benefits available to heterosexual or Gay domestic partners. As a small business owner who befriends and employs several Gay people, I will not stand for this and I will vote NO on Prop.102. Everyone knows a Gay person or a couple in a domestic partnership. If you don’t think you do, wake up. Voting yes on Prop. 102 will directly affect them.

Follow the money. Mormon families have been given a directive from Salt Lake City to contribute time and money to pass Prop. 102. Families are giving $10,000 at a time. What is next on the agenda after Prop. 102?

Bishop Olmstead of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix has produced a Web video encouraging Catholics to support Prop. 102. Doesn’t the Catholic Diocese have enough issues to worry about? What happened to the separation of church and state? It is outlined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

According to federal law, religious organizations cannot engage in political speech while they also accept tax-deductible contributions. Yet, a few weeks back 30 ministers intentionally violated federal law by being political in the pulpit. Mind you, these are the people who profess to be morally pure. It is time to send a message that churches don’t control our government.

Let me expose the huge white elephant. It’s astounding that this dialog has to happen. If there were a proposition on the state ballot to define marriage in Arizona between one WHITE man and one WHITE woman, there would be marches and riots in the street. Our country has come too far on human rights, let’s not step backward. We cannot let a minority of people with $7 million dollars hijack the state constitution. They have already hijacked the state legislature.

Gay people should have a right to the benefits a state granted marriage license. If you deny any loving couples the right to marriage, you also deny them of the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage. This is not “twenty simple words defining marriage” as their expensive glossy flyers say. Prop. 102 is twenty words enshrining discrimination into the Arizona constitution. Separate but equal went out forty years ago.

Fellow Arizona residents, with your no vote, we can guarantee that the Arizona constitution will grant rights, not take them away. We can keep church and state separate. Please vote no on Prop. 102.

1 comment:

Urbain said...

Very well written, Neil. I find this whole thing quite disturbing. Even within the Christian religion, some churches are against this type of discrimination. Efforts to enshrine just one religious point of view into the Constitution on behalf of all Christians, and all Arizonans for that matter, is quite troubling. This issue is much larger than "gay rights."