Go Arizona Go

Arizona became the first state to vote down a referendum to ban gay marriage. And right there in the ADF's backyard (they're headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona). And in a traditionally red state as well. Very, very cool.

More like this

Man, the ADF is really on a roll lately with false claims. In this blog post, the admin of their blog claims that the various state amendments banning gay marriage do not interfere with governments or private companies offering benefits to domestic partners: Preying on these and similar fears,…
The Massachusetts legislature has, for the second year in a row, voted down a bill that would put a referendum on the state ballot to do away with gay marriages, as ordered by the state supreme court, and have civil unions instead. Interestingly, the vote was stronger this year than last, with many…
Notice I said anti-gay, not just anti-gay marriage, which is how its backers are trying to push it. But as David Boaz points out at the Cato blog, gay marriage is already against the law in Virginia and this amendment goes far beyond just banning gay marriage. The amendment says: This Commonwealth…
Eugene Volokh has a post about Michigan's new law against gay marriage, passed by referendum in November, being used as a weapon against state and local governments offering benefits to gay couples. During the ugly campaign for and against the referendum last fall, opponents of the referendum…

But yet, the 6 other ballots to ban gay marriage passed.

I simply don't understand the situation. If a majority of Americans are broadly supportive of gay rights (treatment of equality) per the Gallup Poll a couple years back, why and how are they turning against gay marriage without some form of mental whiplash?

Actually, it rather took my breath away to see the Arizona vote on marriage. It would probably do us good to try to figure out why Arizona voted as it did.

But to answer the question about support for gay rights vs. opposition to gay marriage--that's a simple answer. People just aren't ready yet to consider gay relationships as being qualified to be religiously blessed, which is what the term "marriage" implies for them. If the issue were framed in terms of "civil unions," you'd see a much broader consensus of suppor. This is why I feel that the gay community is doing itself a disservice by insisting on the "m" word. My feeling is, let's get the rights and guarantees first, and worry about semantics later once people have gotten used to the notion of legally recognized gay relationships.

By gary l. day (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Alright that makes sense, it's not logical but it's fairly rational.

And yes, I just realised that this might well have been the first State to vote against a measure of this sort.

People just aren't ready yet to consider gay relationships as being qualified to be religiously blessed, which is what the term "marriage" implies for them. If the issue were framed in terms of "civil unions," you'd see a much broader consensus of suppor.

Unfortunately for those bigots, there are already religions, such as The United Church of Christ, which bless same-sex marriages. Civil marriage is exclusively about inheritance, family-member designations, taxes, custody and the like. I agree that the bigots vote to enshrine the denial of civil rights to gays in their constitutions because they view marriage in religious terms, but that's mostly because those bigots are pig-ignorant.

People just aren't ready yet to consider gay relationships as being qualified to be religiously blessed, which is what the term "marriage" implies for them.

Which really kinda sucks if you're affiliated with one of the religions that is totally okay with blessing them.

Re gay rights and marriage, there is another aspect, as well. I believe that
it is true that "a majority of Americans are broadly supportive of gay rights"
-- but remember that an election measures those who vote, not the entire
population. And what I have seen suggests (ie: I don't have any actual
evidence) that those who oppose gay rights tend to be much more motivated in
their opposition than those who "are broadly supportive". IOW, those who oppose gay rights are statistically far more likely to get out
and vote in opposition than those who support are likely to get out and vote
in support.

In another matter, a friend was looking at some referendum results, and it
seemed to suggest that marijuana legalization/decriminalization measures
recieved more than 40% support (though I didn't see any that passed).

By Greg Byshenk (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

People just aren't ready yet to consider gay relationships as being qualified to be religiously blessed, which is what the term "marriage" implies for them. If the issue were framed in terms of "civil unions," you'd see a much broader consensus of suppor.

That must be why the voters of Colorado rejected a measure to give limited Domestic Partnership rights to same-sex couples.

Folks say they're supportive, but they may also be lying to pollsters. I'm not so sanguine as to assume that much of straight America is really all that supportive. Hell, tomorrow the Massachusetts legislature will probably advance an amendment to take our right to marry away.

The gay community had this issue thrust to the fore after the Massachusetts court decision. Sadly, it wasn't ready with a strategy and tactics worked out. The setback will take half a century to overcome. I agree that the language--marriage vs. civil unions (an some equivalent)--is the sticky part. If a clear distinction were made between civil unions (meaning all marriages between two adults regardless of gender) and marriages (the religious rite), many of these propositions would likely pass, at least in the blue states. The sad part is that half century from now, we'll be removing these actions from the law books just like we removed the racial segregation and anti-miscegenation laws. But i think the process will be simpler and with a lot less agony. Young people, those under 30 or so, regard the whole fuss about gay marriage as a non issue. By the time they're retired, everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Polling doesn't measure likely voters - or even potential voters. Polling just tells you what average folks feel. Given that a good percentage of the country lives in states like New York, Massachusets and California, it really shouldn't come as much suprise that the more sparsely populated areas might feel completely different about gay marriage than the "average" person does too.

The Arizona smackdown is a good sign, though, if only because there are a good number of folks in the West and Southwest who are starting to equate these gay marriage things with "gubmint getting into my bizness" - they don't care if two men (or two women) want to marry each other and they aren't certain why they should. A very, very good sign. I expect things will continue to get better on this front as the older generation dies off - younger folks are less worried about "teh gayz" than the older generation seems to be.

I suspect that Prop. 107 failed to pass (just barely) in Arizona for much the same reason that aspiring theocrat Len Munsil (who authored Prop. 107, as well as Arizona's statutes prohibiting same-sex marriage and Arizona's "covenant marriage" laws) lost to Gov. Janet Napolitano, and the same reason that J.D. Hayworth was defeated by Harry Mitchell. Arizona has a fairly large population of Democratic and independent voters, and there were endorsements of opposition to Prop. 107 from some significant leaders, including the Mayor of Phoenix.

No doubt another major factor is that the opposition placed most of their focus on the fact that Prop. 107 went well beyond opposition to same-sex marriage and would affect domestic partnership benefits for unmarried couples employed by the state.

Keep in mind that same-sex marriage is still illegal in Arizona by statute, at least three times over.

I have a friend in Arizona (a right-wing, authoritarian atheist friend, of all things).

He said he voted against the measure, because of its breadth (the bit about approximating marriage). He says that, if it weren't for that clause and if it had merely banned gay marriage, he would have voted for it (I don't know why--he is horribly illogical and contrafactual in quite a few ways).

I was rather surprised, both in a good way and a bad way last night. I was horrified to see the state of my birth and home for 35+ years (Wisconsin) vote 'yes' on the resolution while pleasantly surprised to see my new home state vote 'no.'

I almost swallowed my tongue this morning when a guy on a talk radio show (truly perverse fun listening to them today) made the following statement:

"I knew Arizona was a liberal state, but I had no idea how liberal. We can only pray for the..."

I was too busy shoving a spoon down my own throat (to keep from swallowing it) and trying to drive to coherently understand the rest. We were left wondering at work ... how much of a right wing nut job do you have to be to consider Arizona liberal???

I've actually been listening to talk radio off and on today. Normally I hate it because of the stupidity. But today it's funny as hell. The arguments I've heard so far range from:

"IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!"

to...

"The President intentionally lost this election because he's really a liberal Republican ... I've been saying it for years."

to...

"They didn't win anything, we just didn't do what we needed to do to win."

Now how the hell can anyone argue that this is anthing but a catastrophic loss for the Republicans? 35 seats lost in the House (+/-), 28 Democratic governors, 5 of the 10 Senate seats lost with a sixth heading to recount with the Democrat leading. I mean it puts the Democrats in perfect position to advance their own agenda (or roll back the GOP agenda) and have Bush either support it (flip-flopper) or veto it (uncompromising ideologue). They can also initiate the process necessary to investigate the massive corruption of the Bush administration and the GOP members of congress. Both should serve to help them gear up for 2008. At the same time they have a majority of governors, most of whom should win reelection just in time for the 2010 census, given them the power to preside over any redistricting following the census. The are in position to possibly reverse some of the gerrymandering from the early 90s.

I do feel sorry for one person ... poor old dubya. He's got to be covered in bruises from being dropped so hard and so fast by so many "Proud Loyal Americans."

By dogmeatIB (not verified) on 08 Nov 2006 #permalink

Civil marriage is exclusively about inheritance, family-member designations, taxes, custody and the like

Whats left?

I, too, am horrified with the results in Wisconsin. Dane County, where Madison is located (and where I live), was the only county to say 'no' (67%). I can't believe such a historically progressive state could pass such a bigoted amendment. It makes me sick.

I really think it comes down to the fact that a vast majority of voters don't know any gay people. They can't put a face on the issue. There needs to be more outreach and education showing how committed gay relationships can be.

The exchanging of the rings, the candles, the dress and tuxedo, god... You know, the 'important' stuff.

Re gay rights and marriage, there is another aspect, as well. I believe that it is true that "a majority of Americans are broadly supportive of gay rights" -- but remember that an election measures those who vote, not the entire population. And what I have seen suggests (ie: I don't have any actual evidence) that those who oppose gay rights tend to be much more motivated in their opposition than those who "are broadly supportive". IOW, those who oppose gay rights are statistically far more likely to get out and vote in opposition than those who support are likely to get out and vote in support.

Exactly. We're dealing with an issue where there's a majority of "abstract support" and a minority of "concrete opposition." Most Americans are supportive of gay rights, but that support takes the form of "what they do is nobody's business but their own." While that's an admirable sentiment, it also means that they regard the problems that gay people face in our society as Someone Else's Problem. They don't see it as something that requires any effort on their part because they don't see themselves as having any personal stake in the issue. The opposition, on the other hand, does take the issue personally, and therefore they're willing to put in effort. And it's effort, not sentiment, that results in political change.

Jim Lippard is absolutely correct. 107 failed in Arizona because the major opposition to it avoided mentioning gays at all costs. Note also that four of the seven state gay marriage bans that did pass also explicitly ban civil unions, five if you include Colorado's mind-boggling defeat of a referendum that would have granted basic rights to same-sex couples. I suspect that if the Arizona measure had been worded differently (i.e., no civil unions for same-sex couples only), it would have passed in a landslide. The liberal oases of Flagstaff, Tucson, and maybe the ASU campus can't compensate for the half-million super-conservatives living in the Phoenix area.

I think that Arizona rejected the measure for two reasons:

1. first, we have had an openly gay (though not outed by choice) Republican Congressman for years, one who frequently brings his partner to fund-raising and official functions. In general, we like him, and the little Kolbe in the back of Arizona minds might have helped sway some votes.

2. Western conservatism is much more libertarian than midwestern or southern conservatism. Arizona may be a conservative state, but we don't want the gummint telling us what to do, even if it is what we were going to do (or not) anyway.

By J. G. Cox (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

On James Dobson's show today, he was writing this off as a narrow defeat which is irrelevant anyway because Arizona already has some similar law on the books. I didn't catch the details...

egbooth says:

I can't believe such a historically progressive state could pass such a bigoted amendment. It makes me sick.

Hard to fathom that open-minded people could dare to disagree with the likes of you. Rather uppity of them.

But let us not forget why these Constitutional Amendments are coming about: Gay and Lesbian activists and their supporters have convinced judges in several states that these are issues to be resolved in the Constitutional arena. Careful what you wish for . . .

By Roger Rabbitt (not verified) on 11 Nov 2006 #permalink

But let us not forget why these Constitutional Amendments are coming about: Gay and Lesbian activists and their supporters have convinced judges in several states that these are issues to be resolved in the Constitutional arena. Careful what you wish for . . .

Uh... so the idea is that no one would be denying gays and lesbians their rights, if they'd just sit down and voluntarily decide to act as if they never had the rights in the first place?

...was there something you were actually trying to communicate here or were you just trying to vaguely register your dislike for "gay and lesbian activists"?

...was there something you were actually trying to communicate here . . .

Yes, but don't feel bad if it went over your head. Maybe we can discuss what "rights" you think are being denied gays and lesbians.

By Roger Rabbitt (not verified) on 11 Nov 2006 #permalink

Maybe we can discuss what "rights" you think are being denied gays and lesbians.

The right to marry the person they love.

The problem faced by gay rights activists is how their successes have come so far: Court decisions. Even where the legislature follows suit, such as Vt and Mass, that news is dwarfed by the initial court decision. The court strategy is a quick way to some victories, but does very little to legitimize the argument.

Unfortunately, the model being followed is based upon the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. While court battles were crucial in these fights, the Federal government also put its full weight behind the cause. That, unfortunately, is not the case in the current fight.

What is desparately needed is for some state to actively endorse gay marriage, not merely premit it. In other words, it is essential for Mass to not just accept it by inaction, but pass an amendment to the state constitution redefining marriage.

It will take time, but I think most supporters of gay marriage already understand this. And I would be shocked if Al or or SC accept it my lifetime. But that is the timescale upon which Constitutional changes occur. Let's get about it.