Gay marriage ban proposed on November ballot

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The Arizona Supreme court has decided to allow a controversial initiative that bans gay marriage and denies domestic partnership benefits throughout the state to remain on the November ballot.

According to the Arizona Republic newspaper, opponents of the Proposition 107 had asked the court to block it from the ballot, arguing that it violated state law.

But the Maricopa County Superior Court was not persuaded, and upheld the lower court’s decisions on appeal. Written opinions about the ruling have not yet been released.

“We are pleased by today’s decision from the Arizona Supreme Court allowing the ‘Protect Marriage Amendment’ to remain on the November ballot,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.

“Allowing the citizens of the State of Arizona to vote to protect marriage is a fundamental right and we applaud the Arizona Supreme Court for a sound judicial outcome.”

State Representative Kyrsten Sinema, chairing the organised opposition to the marriage amendment, told The Arizona Daily Star that the ruling did not surprise her. But Sinema said the legal challenge did serve a purpose: Supporters of Proposition 107 admitted it effectively would end the ability of public employers to offer insurance and other benefits to partners of unmarried employees.

The Daily Star reports that the opposition group, organised as Arizona Together, argued in court the measure violated a requirement for constitutional measures to deal with only one subject.

They said it not only defined marriage as between one man and one woman but also would ban civil unions and domestic partner benefits by government employers.

Sinema also told The Daily Star that the campaign against Proposition 107 will concentrate on informing voters about the loss of domestic partner benefits offered by several cities and Pima County for both straight and gay couples. She acknowledged that it is in line with surveys that show while most Arizonans support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage they are less likely to approve limits on domestic benefits.

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