Arizona is, arguably, a state known for its conservative and close-minded policy making, but voters did not ban gay marriage as swiftly as one might expect. In 2006voters made Arizona the only state in the country to not ban same-sex marriage, by fifty-two percent (Proposition 107). Although, it should not be interpreted as a noble move or even temporary good sign for gay rights, because the rejection of the proposition was due mostly to details interpreted to prohibit government recognition of domestic partnerships and civil unions.
Gay marriage was eventually banned in 2008 through an amendment to the state constitution. The amendment defined marriage as “only a union of one man and one woman,” known as Proposition 102. Many factors contributed to the second proposition’s success—when a similar version was rejected just two years prior—but the simplification of language and details combined with increased funding and a “first class campaign” are thought to have been the more important determinants.
Oddly enough, gay marriage was already banned but supporters said a it would provide a “higher legal level of protection for their preferences about same-sex marriage than does a statute;” it would certainly withstand scrutiny better.
Proposition 107 lost (48-52 percent) and supporters of same-sex marriage will continue the battle by outlining partnership benefits and then framing the ‘public debate’ around those benefits.
Northern Arizona University conducted a poll in 2003 which revealed that 52% of Arizonians approved recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere, 53% support gay civil unions and 54% do not approve of gay marriage.
Supporters of same-sex marriage might have a chance in Arizona with the younger generation. Exit polls showed that fifty-one percent of 18-24-year-old voters were not in favor of Proposition 102.
Equality Arizona is an organization working to “secure, protect and defend the rights and welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Arizona.” The organization is against the “separate-but-equal” status of civil unions and was intent on checking out their options in 2010 in response to Arizona Proposition 102 (2008) but thus far, no options have presented themselves.
- Can same-sex couples marry in Arizona? No.
- Can same-sex couples enter into a civil union? No.