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September 1, 2008


Over the weekend, I came across a poll question at Advocate.com. The question was, "Is the defeat of California's Prop. 8 worth it if Arizona's antigay Prop. 102 passes?"

Of course, to me, the question itself was offensive because no matter how it is answered, it requires a person to make a value judgement between the two fights. It was even more disturbing that there were only 2 answers possible - yes or no - instead of offering a third option that both were equally important.

That question along with some of the comments, prompted me to send a letter-to-the-editor of Advocate magazine. I repeat that letter, in its entirety, below because I think it's very important that people understand what the ramifications of passage of Prop 102 could mean.


I am writing this letter in response to your recent poll questioning whether or not Arizona’s fight against Prop 102 is less worthy of money and support than California’s fight against Prop 8. That isn’t how the poll question was worded but it is the underlying, perceived meaning behind it.

Lest everyone forgets, Arizona was the ONLY STATE to vote down an anti-gay marriage amendment. It did that because the strongest argument that won most people over was the fact that Arizona already has a law banning those unions and a constitutional amendment was overkill. There were also many people who simply didn't want to write discrimination into the state's constitution.

Ironically, thanks to California's legalization of same-sex marriage by their Supreme Court, supporters here now have a very strong argument to scare voters into approving Prop 102. A simple law can be overridden by Supreme Courts. And you can bet that they're going to use that argument over and over again.

Obviously, a lot of political pundits have written-off Arizona's efforts to defeat Prop 102 because Arizonan John McCain is running for President. And since he opposes it, its passage is assured. And, of course, we all know that political pundits are never wrong. That logic is why there’s so little financial support for us here. Even though millions have poured into California and Florida, virtually nothing has come here.

Well, I’d like you to consider the following points.

The reality is that John McCain's presidential bid probably won't have as much to do with it as the pundits think. Arizona's political landscape has changed enormously just in the last ten years alone.

We have a democratic Governor who is very highly thought of throughout the state as well as a highly regarded democratic Attorney General, both of whom have been supportive of the GLBT community. Not to mention several local and state elected officials who are openly gay and a GLBT community and GLBT organizations that have grown substantially as well. So I don't think that McCain's influence here is a guarantee of passage at all.

Granted, John McCain is probably still going to win his race here but passage of Prop 102 is not a sure thing. If the resources are available to fight it as vigorously as the 2006 attempt was fought, it is still a very winnable fight. Why? Because that election showed that there were key areas where the defeat of that proposition was strong enough to more than offset the areas that voted for it. So, a concerted, well-funded, area-targeted campaign now could actually prove to be even more successful than the one in 2006.

I do understand how important California is and that the fight there MUST BE WON, but virtually all of the polls consistently show that Prop 8 is already headed for defeat. Of course a strong campaign would still have to be mounted to assure that victory but how does the importance of that fight equate to ignoring the importance of Arizona's fight? Especially since Arizona is, in my opinion, a very winnable fight.

Let's not forget that passage of Prop 102 here would embolden other states that don't have constitutional amendments to run around in a frenzy to get them passed before their Supreme Courts can take action. On the other hand, a defeat here would show those states that the 2006 defeat wasn't an anomaly and that these homophobic measures CAN BE DEFEATED - even in so-called "red" states.

YES, Arizona does matter - a LOT MORE than many of you might think. Arguments have been made that keeping same-sex marriages in place in California could influence future U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Those are, indeed, very valid arguments but what do you think the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions might be if only two states have approved same-sex marriages but all of the others have constitutionally banned them? Especially if that court is still made up of a majority of conservative justices? Yes, Arizona does matter – and we need financial help! Now!

If you would like to help either through a donation or volunteering, please go to: www.votenoprop102.com