When I learned that a Supreme Court decision on California’s gay marriage ban was imminent, I immediately braced myself for the fallout, regardless of what the decision was (and I fully expected the Court to uphold the ban). You see, we here in conservative little ole’ Arizona have reason to be doubly worried since we share a unique love-hate relationship with our California neighbors.
When those inevitable 100 plus degree summers start turning Arizona into a god-forsaken inferno, we start planning our escape over the border to the cool beaches of California. And we go in droves – an annual ritual of thousands and thousands of cars caravanning across the desert on automatic pilot heading for a cool reprieve from our own weather. California even has a name for us: “Zonies”.
But we “zonies” are also painfully aware of the old saying: “As California Goes, So Goes the Rest of the Country”. And there are plenty here in the great state of Arizona who are quaking with a righteous anger over this latest heresy to come out of “that” state’s “liberal” Supreme Court, which they just assume is full of “activist judges” (never mind that it is a Republican-dominated court with 6 of the 7 justices appointed by Republican governors). And those ever-vigilant guardians of Arizona’s morality know that not even their coveted guns can preserve this state’s Wild West reputation if God-forbid two people of the same sex are allowed to marry in Arizona. So in spite of my extreme joy over this wonderful, albeit surprising ruling coming out of California, I am bracing for the inevitable talk about once again (since we've already defeated this nonsense once before) putting another constitutional marriage ban on the ballot this election season:
In the wake of the California court decision legalizing gay marriage, conservative activists said Arizona needs to move forward on a constitutional amendment to block a similar move here.
But much to my surprise, I am seeing some pretty encouraging letters, editorial cartoons (like the one in this post), and blurbs from political pundits that give me a ray of hope that Arizona will once again show the country that we have conservative leanings, but they are not of the “religious whack-job” stripe, but rather the “stay the hell out of my private life” stripe. And that kind of conservatism suits me just fine.
Here is just a sampling of what was in our paper today (the good, the bad, and some ugly):
Calif. marriage ruling paves way for a better road to tomorrow
May. 18, 2008 12:00 AM
The California earthquake that shook the world registered a 9.0 on the Righteous Scale. There should be legal recognition for committed gay couples, complete with all privileges afforded all U.S. taxpayers. It's a fairness issue. Religion should have no role in the restriction of civil rights. None. And those who defend "traditional" bigotry should get used to the back seat. No longer are they at the wheel as America rediscovers a road called freedom.
- Joe Garcia, Viewpoints/aztalk editor
In short, there was no substantive reason for the California Supreme Court to rule as it did on same-sex marriage. And in jumping in too soon, the judges have created a permanent oppositions – similar to the permanent opposition to abortion laws – that would not exist if California voters had changed the law for themselves as they have eventually would have done.
-Debra Saunders, Quotable Notables/Syndicated Columnist
Or these letter to the editor in today’s paper:
What is the world coming to?
1866: Equal rights regardless of race and color. OMG! What’s this world coming to?
1968: Equal rights regardless of national origin and religion. OMG! What’s this world coming to?
1974: Equal rights regardless of gender. OMG! What’s this world coming to?
1988: Equal rights regardless of disability and familial status. OMG! What’s this world coming to?
2008: Equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. OMG! What’s this world coming to?
-Jesse Knight, Gilbert
Constitutional amendment needed
The only argument that opponents of an amendment to the Arizona Constitution to protect the definition of marriage have is that it’s unnecessary because there is already a law banning same-sex marriage.
Well, based on what happened in California on Thursday, it should now be very clear that a constitutional amendment is absolutely necessary.
Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before activist judges in Arizona ignore the historical definition of marriage and overturn the very law deemed to make an amendment unnecessary. I just hope that a constitutional amendment will be enough to prevent such legislation from the bench in our state.
-Mark Peterson, Phoenix
Let’s preserve everyone’s rights
The duty of the courts is to protect our rights.
A basic concept on which our nation was founded is that the will of the majority cannot be used to restrict the rights of a minority.
Our Founding Fathers created the judicial branch and the Bill of Rights to protect all of us from the occasional tyranny of the majority.
My marriage is a traditional one. I’m happy that I was given the freedom to marry whom I chose; and I will fight for the same freedom for all people – all religious interpretations and all lifestyles. Preserving their rights does not limit mine. On the contrary, if freedoms of others are compromised now, mine and yours may be compromised next.
-Doug Metzger, Phoenix