Monday, May 12, 2008

AZ Anti-Gay Proposition En Route

Today, like a pack of hyenas, 33 members of the AZ state legislature snarled and swirled long enough to bring us, still yet again one more time, another ballot proposition to make Arizona's gays and lesbians full-fledged second-class citizens.

The fiction is that the measure--defeated once already by Arizonans--would merely ban gay "marriage." In truth, we expect that again it will ban any legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples, including the humble domestic partnership agreement. Thus it will bar us not just from all the benefits of marriage derived from nano-second Vegas drive-through sanctifications, but also from benefits yet to be foreseen or defined in the courts of law.

However, what it likely won't do this time is ban unmarried heterosexual couples who cohabitate. That would snare too many AZ seniors who know that they have smaller retirement incomes if they re-marry than if they remain single and just bunk together. A reprise of that language would again make them mad enough to vote at least in their own self-interest if not to preserve fundamental American rights for us. And they provided the margin of defeat for the last anti-gay proposition.

Will the new measure be unconstitutional? Not if a Republican court can help it. But hey, will I even live long enough to find out?

One hopes that this time, Arizonans of sound mind and spirit will notice that they are being manipulated. Again. By the exact same RepubliCons whose anti-immigrant hatred is manipulating them to plunge the state deeply into the red and into expensive, wasteful, and exhausting court battles like the one about employer sanctions.

One hopes that this time, reasonable Arizonans will resent being buzzed up to take part in another bad-tempered, expensive, wasteful, and ultimately self-sabotaging measure, especially in this year of growing budget woes.

When "the benefits of marriage" are defined to include all the civilities that married heterosexuals take for granted, we gay men and lesbian women who are currently self-supporting in every respect but who depend on official recognition of our domestic partnership agreements for things like health insurance, will find ourselves suddenly dependent on you to pay those bills. Sound like a plan?

And how many lawsuits will this proposition spawn on our dwindling tax base? Hard to say, but you can count on picking up your share of the tab when a lot of justifiably offended tax-paying, yard-raking, neighbor-helping, laundry-washing good Queer citizens hit the wall being erected between us and the Bill of Rights.

And those are just some examples. When all "the benefits of marriage" are denied to us by outlawing any form of legal recognition of our long-term relationships, we will be permanently ghettoized economically, legally, psychically, and socially by our own fellow Americans.

The insult has been delivered. The injury already, at the psychic level, is grotesque, as any one of us can tell you. This is especially the case when not even our own mainstream "progressive" churches have the integrity to counter the Far Right.

This is profoundly damaging stuff, and there's been far too little discussion of that and of the selling out of the great liberal Protestant tradition by wishy-washy clergy and lay leaders afraid to offend a big donor in the pew. I don't know when they went away, but the days of meaningful moral and ethical leadership by the mainstream Protestant church seem to be bygone. It's an incalculable loss to us all.

I'm hoping this isn't the direction that Arizonans want to go in. I'm hoping that "do unto others" still has a tiny ring of relevance here, although I must say that our collective, hypocritical, self-righteous vindictiveness toward undocumented immigrants certainly makes me doubt it. Sorry if I sound pissed off. I am.

This from Equality Arizona:

Thirty-three (33) Members of the Arizona House of Representatives voted YES on SCR 1042, a resolution that would place another so-called "marriage" amendment on the ballot in November.
With their YES votes, 33 Members said they want more litigation that threatens to take away domestic benefits from unmarried couples.

Thirty-three Members want to force Arizona voters to vote again on an issue that has already been decided --- by the Legislature, by the Courts, and by the Voters.
The 33 Members who caved to the pressure of anti-equality and anti-domestic partner forces and voted to perpetuate the politics of division are:
Republicans (31)
Kirk Adams
Mark Anderson
Ray Barnes
Nancy K. Barto
Andy Biggs
Tom Boone
Judy M. Burges
Doug Clark
Rich Crandall
Sam Crump
Adam Driggs
Eddie Farnsworth
Trish Groe
John Kavanagh
Bill Konopnicki
Lucy Mason
Marian McClure
John McComish
Nancy McLain
Rick Murphy
John B. Nelson
Warde V. Nichols
Jonathan Paton
Russell K. Pearce
Michele Reagan
Bob Robson
Bob Stump
Andrew M. Tobin
Jerry Weiers
Steven B. Yarbrough
Jim Weiers

Democrats (2)
Jack A. Brown
Pete Rios