Alex Blaze

Arizona marriage ballot initiative wording changed

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 29, 2008 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: amendment, Arizona, gay marriage, Jan Brewer, marriage, marriage amendment, marriage equality, Proposition 102, same-sex marriage, Terry Goddard

The state attorney general, Terry Goddard, who approves wording for initiatives that will appear on the ballot, has required the marriage amendment in that state to add on a sentence explaining that "the measure would 'have the effect of retaining the current laws regarding marriage.'" Secretary of State Jan Brewer threatened to sue Goddard, because she said that the extra sentence was confusing (Arizona statutory law forbids same-sex marriage, not the constitution, which is what the ballot initiative is about).

Well, Brewer has said that she won't sue and agreed to the new wording. Now the ballots in Arizona will explicitly say that voting "No" on the measure doesn't mean that same-sex marriage is allowed since state law already outlaws it. This is considered a win for same-sex marriage supporters, since people generally assume that voting "No" on one of those amendments means that same-sex marriage is allowed.

Which probably explains why supporters of the measure are suing both the Goddard and Brewer:

But there may be a last-minute wrinkle. Late Tuesday, Proposition 102 supporters filed their own lawsuit against Brewer and Goddard, demanding that any reference to state law be stripped from the description. Sen. Ron Gould, a Lake Havasu City Republican who sponsored the legislation that put the measure on the ballot, said any discussion of the statute is designed only to confuse voters.

That lawsuit, however, may be too late to matter.

It's desperate, but these initiatives were never about honesty, so any more information than "one man, one woman" is something they'd oppose.


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Having been a voluntary poll worker for several years, I can tell you the impact is minimal. People usually don't read the descriptions, and much less does the average person change perception with very subtle changes.

Nevertheless, at least it has an impact, no matter how small it may be. Personally, I'm still afraid. So very little funding has been received for the Arizona cause; gay and lesbian Arizonians have been completely neglected by the community so far.