Thursday, June 5, 2008

CAP: CA Same-Sex "Marriage" Decision DOES Impact Arizona

In this issue:

(1) California Same-Sex "Marriage" Decision DOES Impact Arizona
(2) Travelers Beware

(1) California Same-Sex "Marriage" Decision DOES Impact Arizona

Today, the California Supreme Court refused to hold off on implementing its ruling redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships until after the people vote in November on a state constitutional amendment. The Court continued to ignore the will of the California voters and also turned a deaf ear to the pleas of other states' attorneys general about the legal chaos invoked by this decision.

California law allows out-of-state residents to obtain marriage licenses. Starting June 17, Arizona same-sex couples will be able to go to California and get marriage licenses. The question will then become whether Arizona has to recognize those California marriage licenses. We can quickly expect to see legal challenges to Arizona law. Examples of legal cases that could arise from an Arizona same-sex couple having a California marriage license include: divorce petitions, child custody disputes, adoptions, use of a church's facilities for a celebration ceremony, and the list goes on.

Since the May 15 decision in California, opponents of the proposed Arizona marriage amendment have been alleging the California ruling won't impact Arizona. Legislators who oppose the marriage amendment in the state Senate are telling constituents that Arizona courts have upheld the Arizona marriage law so there's no need to worry.

Don't be fooled by this argument! What the California court did to the California law, an Arizona court can do to the Arizona law. In 2001, California voters approved the California law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman by a 61% vote. That's the law that four judges on the California Supreme Court declared unconstitutional. The California law defining marriage as one man and one woman was similar to Arizona's current law. While one Arizona appellate court upheld the Arizona law in 2003, that ruling does not mean the current Arizona Supreme Court or another state court would follow that ruling. The new legal challenges resulting from the California court decision inevitably will lead to challenges to Arizona marriage laws, thus giving courts the opportunity to define marriage, not the people. It's only a question of when - not whether - Arizona's marriage laws will be challenged.

The only means to block the state courts or the state legislature from redefining marriage in Arizona is to amend our state constitution to say:

"Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."

(2) Travelers Beware

It's summer vacation time, and that means travel and staying in hotels for many Arizona families. But, beware that pornography remains pervasive at hotel chains. Pro-family groups recently met with representatives from the Marriott to draw attention to some of the filth that the chain is making available in its rooms. The hotel's reps were shocked, although it is unclear whether the Marriott will follow competitors Drury Inn, Ritz Carlton, and Omni hotels in eliminating pornography as an option. Pornography hurts families in countless ways and having it readily available in hotel rooms is only asking for more trouble. As you travel this summer, protect yourself and protect your family by staying in a porn-free hotel.

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