Phil Gordon is opposing an Arizona constitutional
amendment to ban same-sex marriage, saying its prohibition
of domestic-partner benefits could hurt the city's
recruitment of talented employees. Gordon said
Tuesday that if the city of Phoenix cannot offer
health insurance to the domestic partners of its
employees, it could jeopardize the city's "ability to
compete against the private sector or other cities" as
the city grows rapidly. Phoenix currently provides the
benefit to 176 employees.
Recently retired University of Arizona president
Peter Likins also is opposed to the proposed amendment
to the state constitution. Likins and Gordon filed a
brief with the Arizona supreme court last week, supporting
an appeal to remove Proposition 107, known as Protect
Marriage Arizona, from the November 7 ballot.
A Maricopa County superior court judge ruled
that the measure can remain on the ballot because it
does not violate the requirement that constitutional
amendments address a single subject. Opponents say the
initiative deals with two subjects: same-sex marriages and
domestic-partner benefits. The state supreme court is taking
up the question on appeal and is expected to rule this
week or next week.
Proposition 107 would amend the constitution to
ban same-sex marriages, which are already illegal
under state law. It also bars political subdivisions
of the state--such as cities, counties, universities,
and school districts--from recognizing any
relationship similar to marriage, such as civil unions
or domestic partnerships.
Though proponents skirted the issue early in the
campaign, they now acknowledge that the measure would
also invalidate domestic-partner benefits now in place
across the state. Peter Gentala, legal counsel for the
Center for Arizona Policy, which is backing the proposition,
said the measure has "a single, common purpose, and
that is protecting marriage from contemporary challenges."
Gentala points to similar measures that have
passed and withstood legal challenges in other states.
"What they are saying is that there are all sorts of
relationships that are no different than marriage, and that
is incorrect, because marriage has a unique place in
society," Gentala said. (AP)