Sunday, June 29, 2008

9 Dems Help Put Anti-Gay Proposition on AZ Ballot

Nine of the ten AZ senators who didn't show up for the vote to put a new anti-gay AZ constitutional amendment plan on the ballot were Democrats. They are:

Amanda Aguirre (D-24)
Marsha Arzberger (D-25)
Albert Hale (D-2)
Leah Landrum Taylor (D-16)
Debbie McCune Davis (D-14)
Richard Miranda (D-16)
Charlene Pesquiera (D-26)
Rebecca Rios (D-23)
Victor Soltero (D-29)

At least one of them opposes the measure to reserve the secular benefit of marriage to one man and one woman. She told me so, in person.

Yes, responsibility for this dangerous demagoguery belongs chiefly to AZ Republicans, who never miss a chance to demostrate their moral superiority by lying about and placing their feet on the necks of Arizonans (and others) they don't like.

But if we fail to hold these craven Democratic no-shows accountable for the assistance they provided by their absense, we do ourselves a disservice. If even six had voted "nay," this measure would have failed. After all, two similar measures failed: A more stringent version was defeated by AZ voters in 2006, and just days ago, a previous vote on SCR 1042 failed in this same chamber.

This time, however, Senate Republicans, bowing to the lowest common denominator--the un-American, pro-bigotry Center for Arizona Policy, led by "extremist fundamentalist" Cathi Herrod--maneuvered illegally to ram the measure through.

Even Republican Senate President Tim Bee (Tucson), "who had been trying to keep the proposed amendment off the calendar, lambasted the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), the right-wing lobbying group behind the marriage amendment, for what he described as their divisive tactics, hostility, coercion and threats," before "he publicly buckled under the pressure and became the constitutionally-mandated sixteenth vote to place the measure on the ballot."

Significantly, Bee's district defeated the 2006 measure. Bee is opposed this year by Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.

The measure came to a second vote thanks to cheating by "Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor (R-Gilbert) and Majority Whip John Huppenthal (R-Chandler), among others. [They] devised a scheme with committee chairman Jack Harper (R- rural District 4) to violate the rules of the Senate and the rights of [lesbian and gay] Senators [Paula] Aboud and [Ken] Cheuvront" during the pre-vote debate.

This Republican exercise in contempt for the voters ultimately allowed Republicans to ramrod the vote through the Senate before the session adjourned sine die.

Veteran political observers say the measure is being backed by Republicans as bait to attract lethargic GOP voters to the polls this November. They hope to drum up more votes for Bush clone Senator John McCain.


cpmaz said...

I've got to back up the no shows - under the rules of the Senate, the numbers of "no" votes is irrelevant, only the number of "yes" votes counts, and when Rep. Sens. Gorman and Johnson returned from their previously scheduled trips/vacations, the Reps had the 16 votes they needed to pass the measure.

Friday debacle was solely a wingnut version of a 60s 'love-in' (OK, they're Republicans - it was more analogous to an Amway party :) ).

And while the measure is simply an abominable case of ideological bullying and should be opposed by every voter with a sense of morality and humanity, the pragmatic Democrat in me thinks that there's a silver lining in having the question on the ballot.

I'm at work, so I'll be posting on this later...

PICO said...

Thanks for your comment!

If you're correct, obviously I'm wrong on the vote matter. I should know better than to make assumptions about the rule of any legislative body!

But what a totally BIZARRE rule! I don't get how that can be.

Even if the "no" votes outnumber the "yes" votes, the "no" votes don't count? Why bother showing up when the opposition party has the majority in that chamber?

I'll read your post and write a response. In the meantime, thank you for visiting and taking the time to point this out.

Pico (shaking his head in bewilderment)

cpmaz said...

"Even if the "no" votes outnumber the "yes" votes, the "no" votes don't count? "

Oops -

I should have clarifed - once the Reps had 16 votes show up, they had the requisite number to send the measure to the ballot.

16 votes constitutes a majority of the Senate's membership or 30, and it takes 16 votes for them to pass anything, not just a majority of members present (which is how a lot of legislative bodies operate.)

They had voted on it earlier in the session and it had the support of a majority of members voting, but it didn't have the 16 votes needed.

Once Gorman and Johnson returned to work, the wingers had what they needed.

PICO said...

OK, with you now. That makes more sense. Once the simple majority is met, the threshold is passed and "no" votes are irrelevant. Got it.


Anonymous said...

Just so everyone knows Leah Landrun Taylor is at home in bed for 30 days as her doctor ordered. She had complications after the delivery of her baby and to save her life it is necessary that she does what the doctor ordered.

PICO said...

I hate anonymous posts.

That said, thanks for telling us. In that case, she gets a pass from me.
If you know her, give her our best wishes for a full and rapid recovery.

Thanks for writing. Tell us who you are next time, OK?


Anonymous said...

BtW the last post was a Republican that calls Leah a friend and I can't give you my name

PICO said...

Kind of you to write.

Lee said...

The final vote on any bill in the Arizona legislature is the Third Reading, which requires an absolute majority of the legislative chamber to pass. In the Senate, an absolute majority of the 30 senators is 16. The right-wingers had their 16 votes for SCR1042, so it makes no substantive difference whether the Dems voted or not.

FWIW, the Dems all voted "no" on the bill's first consideration days earlier (except for one absentee), so they were with us.

PICO said...

Thank you for the correction and comment. As I said in my correction today, when I get it wrong, I REALLY get it wrong.

Wiser and happier,