Guest Blogger

Will Arizona be abandoned?

Filed By Guest Blogger | July 30, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Arizona, California, Florida, gay marriage, marriage amendment, same-sex marriage

Editor's Note: Guest Blogger Barbara McCullough-Jones is Executive Director of Equality Arizona. A native of Seattle, Barbara first arrived in Arizona in 1989 and has since enjoyed nearly 20 years working in the LGBT movement. Barbara has received numerous honors and awards throughout her career. In 1994 she became the first out lesbian to run for political office in the State of Arizona with her run for Tempe City Council.

Barbara-McCullough-Jones.jpgThis is a question I am asked nearly every day from folks in Arizona and from folks around the country. They ask questions like how much support came from outside Arizona in 2006? Will anyone outside of Arizona give money this time to defeat Prop 102? Will anyone inside Arizona give money? How do you feel about so much money going to California? What about Florida? Can Arizona win this one too? Do you feel abandoned by those supporting California especially but also Florida since Arizona is the only state in the nation to defeat an anti-marriage amendment?

There is no easy answer to any of those questions. Frankly, I'm not sure there is value in even trying to come up with an answer. I do believe however, the real value lies in the fact that we are even having this discussion. Internal and external to Arizona.

In an odd way it shows people care. They care enough about Arizona's contribution to the movement to worry whether we might be slighted financially in this campaign season. They care enough about our statewide LGBT infrastructure to be concerned we are not damaged in the process - at least hopeful that we might escape long term or irreparable damage.

Instead of answering those questions with only the "what's in front of us" view, I prefer to answer from a 30,000 foot perspective. That means we have to look at our work as a marathon and not a sprint. It means we cannot be angry or feel slighted by donors who, from their own perspective, believe their need and desire to participate in the movement, to make a difference, is best served by giving to a campaign that in their opinion would provide the greatest impact to achieving equality - to meeting their personal political goals. Because we all come from different backgrounds, different economies, different cultural experiences, no one has any right to pass judgment on another for the decisions we make in political giving. Sometimes those decisions are very personal, sometimes they are just hard core strategic moves and sometimes they are the simplicity of altruism.

The higher ground at 30,000 feet allows us to let wash beneath our feet the hardness created by politics - in a way it is cleansing. Don't think for a minute though that coming down from the high ground to do the work is easy. But we have to have a place to land. Something you can touch, hear and believe in. For me that place is community - it is the work. It is the very place where we interact with one another on a very human and hopefully humanitarian level. It is that place that sometimes stinks, sometimes is so loud with opposing voices you can't hear yourself think and on occasion calls into question our belief in that very humanity we seek to be a part of.

Over the past several weeks in particular we have been fighting a battle that stems from the worst display of disintegration of democracy I have ever witnessed. We are fighting with every tool at our disposal to call out those who would seek to limit the fullness of our lives in order to advance their own.

Amidst our ongoing Senate debacle we have organized and are executing our 2008 elections strategy; we have organized a Statewide Coordinated Campaign to defeat Prop 102; and we continue to build the capacity of Equality Arizona - design and deliver programs that change hearts and minds while also managing a hard-hitting public affairs agenda to change public policy.

We need a win in California. We need a win in Florida. We need a win in Arizona. That very trifecta has the potential to change the face of American politics. Just for clarification, "trifecta" as a slang term is used to describe any successful or favorable phenomenon or characteristic that comes in threes (according to Wikipedia). That's what our national agenda should be about.

There is often much angst about coastal states dictating what happens to the rest of the country but today, we need to support our coasts! And yes, tucked into the Southwest - in a place in mid-August where you're sure you're already doing time in purgatory - we WILL continue to do our part to advance equality - to contribute to the greater good of our great state and our nation.

Do we want and need your contributions? Yes! Not at the exclusion of California or Florida but in addition too. Just do it. Don't hesitate, don't even blink.

Just write the checks- address one to California, one to Florida and one to Arizona and sign them simply... from one who cares.

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After having already defeated an amendment and knowing that this one is only on the ballot because legislators broke the rules and cheated to win, Arizona's amendment should rank towards the top of everone's list.

My donation is on it's way.

Practical question then. If I write a check to Arizona and sign it that it will do no good. So, suggestions for contacts???

Here in Florida, we are having the same porblem as AZ. California, which is extremely important (hell, I got married there), is overshadowing other states. I mean, our amendment would not only ban same-sex marriage, but also strip away domestic partnership rights (like hospital visitation, insurance, end-of-life decisions).

I hope our community can step up and donate to all the states facing challenges like this. I know my money is going to Cali, AZ, and Florida.

Hi -

My Frontiers magazine story on this is now up here:

Since Frontiers is a "lifestyle" publication, they post all news on one page - the Arizona story is at the end.

I hope it brings attention to your plight in Arizona.

Karen Ocamb
News Editor
IN Los Angeles and Frontiers magazines

Lisa Rayner | July 30, 2008 3:42 PM

To make a donation to the Arizona campaign against the amendment, go to:

A couple of days ago I received yet another call from someone with HRC explaining how it was extremely important that I donate at least $100. "HRC has spent so much money in California", "HRC funds to continue fighting the initiative are getting low", "this is not just for California but if the initiative passes it will impact same sex marriage nationally", blah, blah, blah. I asked how much money HRC has given to Florida and Arizona to fight those marriage amendments, was met with a few seconds of silence, then told (with a stutter) "HRC has given money to those states, too."

Now it was time for my soapbox. I explained that I realized California was important but as a Floridian I will continue to donate my time and money locally to Vote No on 2, Florida Red and Blue, Say No 2, Equality Florida, etc. He tried to do the guilt thing....."but winning California is so important for gays and lesbians nationally..." Told him "there are 47 states that don't have these nasty amendments/initiatives on their November ballots, there have been/continue to have major and smaller out of state donors for California so I will keep my efforts local. Have a nice day. Bye."

Dianne, that's a great point. There are three of these amendments. People in each state who care about fighting them should naturally focus on their own state. The 47 other states are most likely going to be spending most of their time concerned with CA. So asking someone in the other two ballot initiative states to send money does seem a little presumptuous.

While CA is taking up all the media attention, we certainly can't forget about the two other states with ballot initiatives.

I just moved away from Mohave County Arizona a few months ago.During the last voter iniative on gay marriage the fight didn't center on gay relationships but on how it would effect heterosexual ones.If this iniative only penalizes gays then it will be a tough fight especially in Mohave County as it has a high Mormon and Conservative population.Last Time rather than give to a national organization I placed my own add to counter the religious ones in the local dollar saver.Basically I argued for seperation of church and State and that ministers have no business dictating laws for non parisheners also that voting to remove civil libertys from a minority was about as un American as you can get.That was a bold move for me as I was required to put my name to it and I work in a very Republican dominated field.It is very tempting for me to put in another add and ask those who know me if they feel they have the right to impinge on my freedom or to disqualify a relationship I'm in should I choose to have it recognized.I would love to do an absentee ballot for this election but I'm not sure if I'll be able to qualify for one.Given good unbiased information I believe the voters in Arizona will do the right thing.