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Arizona judge
rejects challenge to antigay amendment proposal

Arizona judge
rejects challenge to antigay amendment proposal

A judge on Thursday rejected a legal challenge to an initiative that would ban same-sex marriage and ruled that the proposed state constitutional measure can go on Arizona's November 7 general election ballot. Judge Douglas Rayes of Maricopa County superior court rejected opponents' argument that the Protect Marriage Arizona initiative, which would appear on the ballot as Proposition 107, violated a constitutional requirement that each constitutional amendment be a separate ballot measure.

The opposition Arizona Together campaign said it will appeal Rayes's ruling to the Arizona supreme court. The measure would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and prohibit state and local governments from providing marriage-like legal status to other relationships.

Supporters acknowledged that a second provision would eliminate domestic-partner benefits provided by some Arizona local governments, and opponents of that provision say it should be a separate constitutional amendment because some voters would favor one part of the amendment but not the other.

However, Rayes said the measure satisfies the single-amendment requirement. Both provisions "have but one purpose, the protection of marriage by preventing redefinition and extension of official status to marriage substitutes," he wrote.

Glen Lavy, an attorney for initiative supporters, pledged to oppose the opponents' planned appeal and called their challenge "just another desperate attempt to evade the democratic process by those who advocate redefining marriage."

State representative Kirsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat who heads the Arizona Together campaign, said Rayes's ultimate conclusion was wrong but that it was significant that he noted supporters' acknowledged the ban on partner benefits. The initiative "is not about protection against same-sex marriage. It is about banning domestic-partner benefits," Sinema said. (AP)

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