Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage Recognition Efforts in Arizona Falter, But Not Because of Conservative Opposition

Established LGBT groups don't like it when they aren't in charge

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Ewwww! Those two dudes getting married are Republicans!
Credit: Lisa F. Young | Dreamstime.com

Back in June, some folks in Arizona started organizing efforts to overturn the state's ban on recognizing same-sex marriage. They were putting together a ballot initiative that would turn the state's marriage law sex-neutral (but would still limit recognition to couples).

The effort was organized by Arizona Log Cabin Republican (those are gay and gay-friendly Republicans) caucus chair Erin Ogletree Simpson and libertarian blogger/business owner and Gary Johnson supporter Warren Meyer.

Their organization, Equal Marriage Arizona, had until July 2014 to gather about 260,000 signatures to get it on the ballot for fall of next year. But they announced this week that they're abandoning their efforts, because they can't seem to get support for their efforts – from the left. The (Arizona) Republic reports:

"The various LGBT advocacy groups in the state and nationally announced they weren't going to throw their support behind the initiative," said Equal Marriage Arizona co-chair Erin Ogletree Simpson, a retired Tucson attorney who chairs the Log Cabin Republicans of Arizona. "Without their help, we aren't able to do it."

Ogletree Simpson said there were differing opinions about strategy on when would be the best time to pursue a same-sex marriage initiative. The advocacy groups thought it would be best to wait until 2016, which would give them two more years to sway voters and a presidential election year, which tends to draw more voters to the polls.

"They didn't feel like Arizona was ready for equal marriage in 2014," Ogletree Simpson said of the advocacy groups. "I'm just happy our effort has prompted a focus from the various group to look at 2016 and start putting together a strategy."

But a poll in May showed that a majority of Arizonans do support gay marriage recognition – 55 percent. And if current trends hold, that number is likely to rise by 2014. Equal Marriage Arizona has already gathered 9,000 signatures. Ogletree Simpson said people in the Arizona gay community were ready for a fight, but it appeared the activist leadership wasn't willing to support them:

"There has really been concern about strategy, support and fundraising," said Sheila Kloefkorn, who serves on the national board of the Human Rights Campaign. "We know what the sting of defeat feels like, and we can't afford another defeat. While support is high, it's not quite what we would need it (to) be for 2014."

American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler said Equal Marriage Arizona should be recognized for taking the first steps.

"But we want to win," she said. "We need a little more time to get out there and educate the public about why marriage matters. This now clears the way for what I think will be a more collaborative effort, possibly in 2016, that includes members of the faith community, businesses and people across the political spectrum."

Emphasis added. This push was being organized by conservatives and libertarians (and both organizers have business connections). What other people across the political spectrum did they need, other than the Democrats/liberals? It seems like this problem is self-created by the advocacy groups' refusal to participate. On Equal Marriage Arizona's Facebook page, volunteer Elisha Dorfsmith took a dim view of the failure of established gay activist groups to come aboard:

My comments to Flagstaff Pride who went out of their way to fight equal marriage Arizona:

Gary Johnson was honorary chair for the organization pushing for equal marriage in Arizona. Gary Johnson has ALWAYS supported equal marriage. I trust him.

The ballot measure wording was something that nobody could argue with. It changed the current language that says marriage is between a man and woman to "two people". Libertarians and Log Cabin Republicans were all out collecting signatures and campaigning. I personally collected pages and pages of signatures.

If everyone had joined together it could have passed. Unfortunately, peer pressure and dare I say bullying by groups on the left caused every left leaning group that had previously endorsed the measure to pull their support.

The impression I am left with is that the only reason the left fought this so hard is because the ballot measure was not created by Democrats.

The fact remains, if we want something to pass we're all going to have to work together. Attacking people who support you (libertarians and log cabin republicans) hurts your cause. Very very sad that it turned out like this.

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50 responses to “Gay Marriage Recognition Efforts in Arizona Falter, But Not Because of Conservative Opposition

  1. Meh, they’re fighting the wrong fight anyways. They should be fighting to have the state not recognize any marriage.

  2. Very very sad that it turned out like this.

    But not at all surprising.

  3. So the Arizona Log Cabin Republicans want to drive more bakeries and wedding photographers out of business?

    1. That’s exactly it. After that they are going to push to compel churches to do gay weddings, and after that it’s polygamy, baby!

      1. The only purpose to create laws is to force people to do what they do not want to do. In the case of homosexual marriage, its to force people to recognize that marriage and then use civil rights laws to punish anyone who does not want to recognize that marriage.

          1. Legalizing something = banning something

            HERP DERP

            1. Why do you want to use the law to force others to do something they don’t want to do?.

              1. Why do you keep fucking sheep?

              2. The only reason people by guns is so they can murder innocent black teenagers.

            2. Legalizing something = banning something

              Uh, legalizing something means taking something that was illegal and making it legal. Since nobody is in jail for the crime of entering into a same sex marriage, I fail to understand what it means when people say same sex marriage was legalized.

              Talk about derp.

        1. Not really. That is certainly what motivates some people. But others favor laws because they compel the state to treat similarly situated people the same.

          Or are you saying that all of the people who argue for gay marriage based on equal treatment under the law are lying and secretly just want to force people to bake cakes for gay weddings?

          Think what you want about it, it is no skin off my nose. But don’t presume to know the motivations of everyone who disagrees with you.

          1. But others favor laws because they compel the state to treat similarly situated people the same.

            Similarly situated people should be treated similarly.

            Same situated people should be treated the same.

      2. whoa whoa whoa, don’t forget about the individual gay marriage mandate. How else are they supposed to destroy traditional marriage?

        1. the individual gay marriage mandate.

          I feel like this has something to do with masturbating for some reason.

        2. It’s not a mandate. It’s a tax

          1. Actually it’s a very disturbing penaltax.

        3. It’s spelled “man-date”.

    2. You do realize the wedding photographer case took place in a state that doesn’t even have gay marriage?

      1. Your facts are irrelevant Cali. Next you’ll claim that non-discrimination ordinances are at fault rather than marriage law itself.

        I laugh at your attempts to get between DJF and his bugaboo.

        1. bugaboo

          What gay sub-culture is that? Leather-feltchers? Closeted midget bears? Twinks who think they are reincarnations of Casper, the friendly ghost of Richie Rich? Disabled Hawaiian surfboard-humpers?

          Oh, shit. I just wrote a Guided By Voices song!

        2. If you don’t want to force others to recognize a marriage then why involve the State at all? The State is force.

          1. If you don’t want to force others to recognize a marriage then why involve the State at all? The State is force.

            Yes, the state can force a gay man to testify against his partner, can expel him from the country, the state can override his will to favor biological family and the state can force his surviving partner to pay a hefty sum in inheritance taxes.

            1. Jesse, stop being such a dick and forcing people to consider you as equal to them. It’s bad enough that we all have to recognize those niggers as whole people.

              1. When did freedom = the Government forcing people to be equal?

                1. Who used the word freedom there? In a free society none of those things would be an issue and I wouldn’t have to be a crank about wanting the same access to them that you have, should you want them.

                  Also that’s quite the masturbatory and substance free sentence:

                  When did freedom = the Government forcing people to be equal?

                  But whatever let’s you skip over the substance of what I said and sleep well knowing that you fought against the scourge of 5A protections for gay couples because a different, though associated, set of laws harmed good Christian butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.

                  1. In a free society none of those things would be an issue and I wouldn’t have to be a crank about wanting the same access to them that you have, should you want them.

                    Agreed. And the way to a freer society is not via additional government force.

                    That may (or may not) make a more equal society, but it wont be freer.

                    1. Agreed. And the way to a freer society is not via additional government force.

                      In my glibness, I may have worded it badly.

                      “Forcing” people to consider you an equal begins and ends at the law and gubmint, in terms of rights. Ignoring the ideal of getting marriage out of the hands of the state for the moment, considering all marriages to be equal before the law is the only issue.

                      All other force is optional and irrelevant to this discussion.

                    2. Suppose the proposal were to give taxi drivers equal privileges with drivers of emergency vehicles (fire, police, ambulance). That means taxis could go thru red lights (which maybe you like) but also that everyone would have to get out of the way of taxis.

                    3. Ignoring the ideal of getting marriage out of the hands of the state

                      I wont accept this premise.

            2. Seems better to fix those problems in general than to add on a new problem.

              Its like people who keep trying to fix public schools instead of ending them.

              1. I agree. If I’m talking about it with people outside of libertarian an-cap circles I advocate strongly for the ending of marriage licensing altogether. Expanding marriage licensing to include gay couples is a distant second best solution in my opinion, but I don’t see the state forgoing their power to do the things I mentioned above* anytime soon, so for practical reasons I throw my support behind having the more secure legal framework for gay couples already available to straight couples.

                force a gay man to testify against his partner, can expel him from the country, the state can override his will to favor biological family and the state can force his surviving partner to pay a hefty sum in inheritance taxes

              2. I have sympathy for indirect sol’ns like expanding loopholes. However, since the loophole expansion and new cases of coercion will be on a 1:1 basis at best? same sex couples would be the only ones newly exempt from gift taxes, and able to coerce others into dealing with them legally as a family? it’s not as powerful as school reforms, where the ratio of new freedom to new aggression will be much more favorable, infinite in many cases.

          2. If you don’t want to force others to recognize a marriage then why involve the State at all? The State is force.

            I support free speech because I want to hear what smart people have to say, even if it’s something that the government doesn’t want said. Unfortunately, in order or keep speech free, it also means that we have to allow idiots the exact same freedom to speak.

            That doesn’t mean that the government is forcing me to recognize you as anything other than an idiot.

  4. Can’t let those dirty bastards from the other TEAM dilute the purity of the Cause, don’tcha know.

  5. Perhaps one of the saddest stories today, after 9/11 stories.

    1. Nah, Reason could’ve done an entire day on how the terrorists have actually won.

  6. The impression I am left with is that the only reason the left fought this so hard is because the ballot measure was not created by Democrats.

    This partisanshit explains about half of everything that happens in politics.

    You can’t have non-Ds picking up LGBT and gay-friendly voters, even if it means abandoning what ought to be near the top of any TEAM BLUE wish list.

    1. I don’t get it. If democrats came out with a pro-gun bill because they realized women, gays, and minorities need access to firearms to defend themselves against rapist, racist and homophobes then I would gladly vote for the bill. I could care less who sponsored it as long as I like what the bill does.

      1. I think that’s why you’re at a site called Reason. Unfortunately, as Episiarch would say, TEAM is everything to a lot of people.

        1. Drink?

          1. Ya know…since registration there has been a serious decline in DRINKING around here…I mean when was the last time SMOALIA or ROADZ was used? You know it was better when Postrel was here.

  7. I am compelled to agree with the LGBT groups. It makes a lot more sense to wait to 2016 to avoid another CA. Dorfsmith doth protest too much.

    1. Prop. 8 passed on an …

      Wait, was that sarcasm?

      Wait, should I have pointed that out?

  8. The impression I am left with is that the only reason the left fought this so hard is because the ballot measure was not created by Democrats.

    LIBERTY IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE.

  9. They’d rather have the issue than a resolution. Everything has to be viewed through the prism of red/blue team politics. Why give team red a fig leaf now when you can have a ballot initiative in a presidential election year to help energize the base?

    Why do you think they refused to work with Bush on immigration reform?

    1. In other words, they put themselves in the positions of the providers/sellers of politics rather than of the customers of politics. Meaning leaders and the people they lead are at odds, having a fundamental conflict of interest.

      Damn it if that isn’t the real, and pervasive, problem with politics. It’s just as true (if not more so) in LP as in other political and movement organz’ns. The leadership can’t give the grass roots what they want, because then the leadership would no longer have a raison d’?tre.

      So you can’t get anything done without leadership, and you can’t get anything done with it.

  10. The advocacy groups thought it would be best to wait until 2016, which would give them two more years to [use this as an issue to] sway voters and [be] a presidential election year, which tends to draw more voters [allows them to use this issue to bring more voters likely to vote Democrat] to the polls.

  11. ‘It changed the current language that says marriage is between a man and woman to “two people”.’

    Why stop at two?

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