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AZ Gay/Lesbian Community Shifts Rights Fight to Legislature

November 6, 2008

Phoenix, AZ – Following Tuesday's passage of Proposition 102, which puts a "one-man, one-woman" marriage definition into the state constitution, advocates for Arizona's gay and lesbian community will now take their civil rights campaign to the legislature. Their primary goal will be a domestic partnership law, according to Sam Holdren, Public Affairs director for Equality Arizona.

"I think people are tired of divisive politics. We saw that in the presidential election. And as we move forward into this next legislative session, we're going to ask for things like domestic partnerships."

Holdren believes a majority of the legislature supports the domestic partnership concept. The question, he says, will be whether lawmakers have the political will to enact it. Opponents have claimed same-sex marriage would erode the basic foundation of society.

Holdren says if lawmakers enact a domestic partnership law, it would help ensure basic civil rights for gay and lesbian people.

"These include the right to visit your partner in the hospital, the right to bury your partner when they die, the right to make emergency medical decisions about each other and the right to inheritance and health care."

Holdren also holds out hope that Arizona's campaign for equal marriage rights will get help at the federal level as a result of Tuesday's election. He says it can be argued that Arizona's newly-passed marriage amendment violates the U.S. Constitution.

"We have a President and a Congress who will appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution, which includes the equal protection clause. Despite our losses here in Arizona at this time, we're going to win in the long run."

Proposition 102 passed by margin of 56 percent to 43 percent. It did not change the status of same-sex marriage in Arizona, which already was illegal.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ