Friday, February 15, 2008

Lawmakers Must Address Real Issues, Not Gay Marriage

This column from Tucson, Arizona ( looks at the cravenness of the GOP effort to get an anti-gay marriage initiative on the November, 2008, ballot in Arizona. The editorially rightly identifies that the real motivation has nothing to do with protecting families or the institution of marriage. It’s all about getting out the wingnut voters and political opportunism by one of the initiatives sponsors. Moreover, this kind of political garbage helps create an atmosphere where junior high students beleive it is OK to kill gays. It all too clearly shows what has happened to the GOP and why I ceased to be a member of that political party a number of years ago. Here are some highlights:

Arizona voters rejected a 2006 ballot measure to outlaw gay marriage, civil unions or domestic-partner benefits. But state Senate President Tim Bee is leading a new push to ask voters to place a definition of marriage in the Arizona Constitution as the union of one man and one woman. The effort is discriminatory and unnecessary. It is wrong to enshrine discrimination against any group of Arizonans into the Constitution. What's more, Arizona law already prohibits same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment is a giant waste of time.

Arizona has a whopping deficit, serious problems with education, residents who can't afford food or utilities, and questions about the economy. Making extra double sure that two men or two women can't marry each other will not improve our schools, help local businesses thrive or fix our roads.

This may be a cynical political move. Bee is running for Congress in District 8, trying to unseat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat. Republicans have used the threat of gay marriage as a political tool before to motivate conservative voters to get to the polls. In Arizona, it's a false threat. The existing law has been upheld by the appellate court and the theory that the Legislature would one day change the law is laughable.

As a result, the Senate president is in a position to use his state office to further his Congressional hopes. Pushing for a constitutional amendment won't do anything for Arizonans, but it could help his political aspirations. Bee should remember that he already has a job. His first responsibility is to the people of Arizona. The state budget is in dire straits. Arizona's educational system is among the most Underfunded in the nation. One in five Arizonans don't have health insurance. Arizonans need lawmakers who work for the good of the state, not those who use state offices to further their own political goals.

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