PHOENIX (BP)–The Arizona Senate June 27 placed a constitutional marriage amendment on the November ballot, making Arizona the third state to vote this fall on the definition of marriage.
California and Florida also will consider similar proposals.
The Arizona effort comes two years after Arizonans defeated a marriage amendment by a vote of 51-49 percent, marking the first loss ever by a marriage amendment on a state ballot. But opponents during that campaign focused not on “gay marriage” but on side issues, and even argued in television commercials that language in the 2006 proposal would have limited Social Security incomes for seniors. The campaign worked: 46 percent of those ages 60 and over voted against the amendment. Historically in other states, seniors back marriage amendments by wide margins.
This year’s effort seeks to avoid distractions and instead to focus only on the issue of “gay marriage.” The proposed amendment states: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”
The proposal passed the Arizona Senate by the bare minimum, with Senate President Tim Bee, a Republican, casting the deciding vote, the Arizona Republic reported.
Cathi Herrod, president of the pro-amendment Center for Arizona Policy, called it a “great day for the people of Arizona.”
“The people of Arizona will be able to decide the future of marriage in Arizona, not judges as we have witnessed in California,” Herrod said in a statement. “The situation in California demonstrates that Arizona’s current marriage laws are not enough. There’s nothing to stop a future court or legislature from redefining marriage. This amendment eliminates the uncertainty. The future of marriage in Arizona shouldn’t be left to the courts or the politicians; it should be left to the people.”
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press.