Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arizona State Bar Association revision of the oath for attorneys

Caught up in the propaganda wave generated by the opponents of Proposition 102 in Arizona, the Marriage Amendment, there have been a number of inflammatory and inaccurate news stories concerning action to be taken by the Arizona State Bar Association.

Although the news accounts concerning the Arizona State Bar Association's action to include a reference to sexual orientation in the oaths administered to all new entrants licensed to practice law in Arizona only recently made the national news, the reference to a concern with prejudice concerning sexual orientation was long ago included in the Arizona Rules of Professional Responsibility. The provision included with Ethical Rule 8.4 was passed by the Arizona Supreme Court effective back on December 1, 2002. The ER 8.4 in full states:

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; or

(f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable Code of Judicial Conduct or other law.

(g) file a notice of change of judge under Rule 10.2, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, for an improper purpose, such as obtaining a trial delay or other circumstances enumerated in Rule 10.2(b).

The only reference to sexual orientation is found in the related comment. The comment in question states, in part:
A lawyer who in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, violates paragraph (d) when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. This does not preclude legitimate advocacy when race, sex, religion, national original, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, or other similar factors, are issues in the proceeding. A trial judge's finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this rule.
According to the Web site of the Arizona State Bar Association, there are no specific ethical opinions issued by the State Bar with reference to that particular provision. This means that since 2002, no one has requested a formal opinion from the State Bar concerning this particular provision. There was some limited discussion in the media back in 2002. See Arizona Supreme Court Requires Lawyers to be GLBT Friendly dated July 4, 2002.

The current controversy arose as a result of a request by the Supreme Court of Arizona to the State Bar to review and recommend revisions to the Oath of Office for State Bar members reported in the August 22, 2008 minutes of the meeting of the State Bar Board of Governors. Those minutes state:
OATH OF ADMISSION

Ed Novak introduced a proposed revision to the Oath of Office for State Bar members that he wrote and that the members of Scope & Ops have worked on. Amelia Craig Cramer circulated a redlined version showing changes from the existing Oath to the proposed revision. President Novak stated that at the Court’s last meeting it was suggested that the Oath be reviewed and possibly updated. The first draft was in the Board materials and members of the Board were urged to review and consider it,as well as the slightly-revised redlined version. Further discussion of the proposal will continue at the September meeting of the Board. When the proposal is more defined, member’s comments and suggestions will be sought.

In the September 26, 2008 Minutes of the Board of Governors it stated:
OATH OF OFFICE FOR STATE BAR MEMBERS

President Novak stated a recommendation was received to review and update the Oath. Amelia Craig Cramer circulated a redlined version showing changes from the existing Oath to the proposed revision. The Board is asked to review the Oath and direct any comment to President Novak or Amelia Craig Cramer. Further discussion was tabled to the next meeting. The proposed changes will be voted on at the November Board meeting, and members will be able to comment prior to the Board submitting the proposed changes to the Supreme Court.

The subject was not discussed in the October meeting. Minutes for the November meeting are yet to be published on line.

Apparently, the State Bar gave its recommendations and in response, the Arizona legal community began its response to the recommended wording of the change. See December 12, 2008 letter to Edward F. Novak, Arizona State Bar President. This issue began to get greater coverage as a result of blog stories after the letter was made public. The story began to be generally repeated in the pro-gay blogs. It appears that the story has yet to hit the general media.

The status of the proposal is presently unknown. There are apparently no official statements from the State Bar. We will have to wait for further developments. However, I am aware of several attorneys who are planning to write opposing the change to the Oath of Admission.

Facebook -- an excuse for trivial communication

Social networking is a buzz term of the Web 2.0 world composed of older teens, twenty and thirty-somethings and a few older people thrown together in a sound bite world lacking any true discourse or substance. It is significant that the metaphor used is "writing on the wall." One of the prominent forums for this new form of personal graffiti is Facebook. Some of the participants can claim thousands of "friends" who are mostly people they would never greet or even recognize if met in person. How much real content can you get from a comment written on a wall? I get more social interaction than this from waving at people in traffic on the freeway.

I cannot claim to be a long time participant in this particular social phenomenon, but I am certain that increased familiarity will not disclose any deeper significance to the superficiality. I have yet to determine how my world is enriched by knowing that someone is tired or fixed dinner or that some one gave a gift of a coconut tree or a cow. It is certain that there is no clear writing or understandable communication going on in this venue.

Aside from the brief novelty of recognizing old friends and relatives, the content seems to have less substance than chewing gum. Taking a quiz on "How Hick Are You?" is like reading the throw away weekly magazines in the Sunday newspapers, without having to make the effort to bring the paper in from the front porch. Finding out that someone you hardly know is a fan of some prominent person, is like watching the gossip columns. At one level, attending wedding receptions and funerals, in person, serve a function of binding people together in a common social network. But what is utility of have hundreds of people, who you do not know and who you never see, attend a virtual wedding reception? What kind of social bond comes from clicking on a "I want to join" link?

I guess it is too much to expect that a generation who's deepest thoughts consists of "Cool" and "Hey, Dude" could compose anything that approached real discussion or discourse. Historians have found a rich source for analysis in personal letters. What kind of historical significance will this ephemeral note taking have in the future? How do we get some kind of perspective on the thoughts of a generation, when those thoughts are confined to comments like "Hope,you're OK" and "What cuties!" Not to mention the fact that someone found a seven letter word in Scramble?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The holidization of Christmas

This morning I was listening to National Public Radio, as usual, not that I particularly agree with NPR, but the Phoenix market doesn't have any other news station that isn't ranting or swearing on the radio. I heard one commentator refer to "Holiday Music." It struck me that, as a nation, we are moving so far into political correctness and fear of offense, that we can no longer refer to Christmas.

I realized that I had received a pile of cards from businesses at work and almost without exception they were styled as "Holiday Greetings," there was not one Christmas card in the bunch. There is a long standing and not so subtle movement away from traditional Christian values and observance of the birth of Christ towards a generic, non-specific reference to "this special holiday season," carefully avoiding any reference to the birth of the Savior or his mission on earth.

This isn't just an issue with Santa Claus or reindeer, this is a concerted effort by the media and others to eliminate any religious references at all. Listen to the music offered on one of the so-called holiday stations, you get silver bells, winter wonderland and one after another of generic non-Christmas songs. Christmas carols have almost disappeared or become so "modernized" as to be indistinguishable from the current blah blah noise of popular music.

The biggest national concern this "Holiday Season" is not whether we can return to an observance of Christ and his teachings, but whether the merchants are going to have a good sale year or not.

I call upon all those who are Christians to focus more on the Lord Jesus Christ and his ministry here on earth. Remember his life and teachings as well as his birth in a humble stable and let's wish everyone a Merry Christmas and not just a happy holiday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reflections on gas prices and the universe in general

On December 22, 2008, crude oil closed at $39.62 a barrel. Almost uniformly the falling price was blamed on the decreasing demand for oil due to the "worsening global economic climate." See MSNNBC. When oil was over $130 a barrel, the price rise was blamed on increasing demand for oil. You can see the statistics from the Energy Information Administration. (The U.S. Government keeps track of almost everything). The high point in the price of oil occurred from 2005 to 2008. In three years the price of oil went from where it is now, to over $130. In actuality, the price of oil has not dropped, it has simply returned to its historic cost range of only about three years ago.

Now, if the price of oil was somehow linked to demand, as all of the news reports would have us believe, then there should have been a spike in the demand at about the same time the price went up. However, travel was down in January of 2005 over January of 2004. From 2005 to 2006 miles traveled in the U.S. went up only 3.8%. However, cumulative travel decreased .7% from 2006 to 2007. By 2008, cumulative travel had again decreased, this time by 1.7%.

There is no spike in miles traveled in the U.S. There was no increase in demand, in fact, demand was flat. The rapid increase in oil prices had absolutely nothing to do with increased demand in the U.S.

It is incredible that the American public has been so easily fooled by the government and the media. What then caused the tremendous increase in oil prices?

Greed and speculation. If you want to see where the money went read, Exxon's Profits: Measuring a Record Windfall. If Exxon Mobil were a country, its 2007 profit would exceed the gross domestic product of nearly two thirds of the 183 nations in the World Bank's economic rankings.

Oil prices aren't truly down, they have only returned to levels not seen since the huge speculative oil bubble.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another controversy over the Marriage Amendment

Just when you think that you have heard all the arguments, the Arizona State Bar Association is proposing to add a reference to sexual orientation as part of the oath taken by attorneys upon admittance to the Bar Association. Membership in the Bar Association is mandatory on all attorneys in the State of Arizona in order to appear and represent clients in court. A recent article explains the issues:

Bar might add sexual orientation to state oath

I will have a lot of comments on this topic. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Christmas Card to Everyone

We wish you the most joyous Christmas and a happy New Year.

This is my Christmas card to everyone this year:

Joy to Everyone This Christmas

Please feel free to share this wonderful message with everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who is the victim in sub-prime mortgage failures?

The media repeatedly portrays homeowners unable to make their mortgage payments as victims of the unscrupulous sub-prime mortgage lenders. Wait a minute. Who is the victim here? It is certainly a tragedy that a family, living in a house for years, through job loss or medical crisis, can no longer make mortgage payments and loses their home. It is entirely a different story when someone purchases an expensive home or condo for no money down (or worse, cash back) and then fails to make even one mortgage payment. How is this person who fails to make payments on a home that they cannot possibly afford, considered a victim?

Originally, media reports, (See this story on National Public Radio, for example) characterized the borrowers as people who refinanced or purchased adjustable rate mortgages, without realizing the risk that interest rates would go up. Many of these people had lived in their homes for years. However, it now turns out that the victim examples have taken a change, (See Business Week, FHA-Backed Loans: The New Subprime). The media admits that borrowers now include those, like an unemployed student, living on an educational grant from the Cayman Islands, who purchased a $318,000 home with a $2,600 a month payment. The grant was for one year and she had no prospects of paying the mortgage. In another example, the purchasers, a husband and wife, together made $52,000 and purchased a $316,375 home with payments equalling 58% of their gross income. They got thousands of dollars in a cash back arrangement. Are we to consider these people to be victims? I hardly think so. As the Business Week story claims, if true, these loans are still being made by lenders whose default rate is as high as 9.2% of their outstanding loans. Because of the so-called cash incentives, buyers are defaulting before even on payment is made.

We used to say that it took two to tango, well, it takes buyers who are dishonest enough to take out a mortgage that they have no possible intention of paying, to make the crisis as bad as it is today. I recently did a survey of local real estate conditions. What I found was interesting but not surprising. In many new home neighborhoods, mostly in prestigious locations, I found a very high percentage of short sale and foreclosure homes, sometimes as many as five or six on the same street and block. However, in more stable neighborhoods, where families had purchased the homes over the past few years, I could find very few, if any, distressed properties. It is apparent that much of problem stems from people attempting to take advantage of the system and move into homes that they cannot realistically afford. Just because we have a mortgage system that allows them to do this, does not excuse individual responsibility.

Let's not consider all of those losing their homes in this subprime crisis to be victims, some of the buyers had no reasonable expectation of maintaining their purchases and took advantage of a system that doesn't work to get some free housing. We need to get back to basic honesty and integrity before the housing crisis will abate.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas should be a Holy Day not a holiday

This last September I was once again surprised to see all the Christmas decorations for sale show up at my local Costco. I guess I am wondering why they bother to take them down at all. In reading the economic reports, retailers expect to make from 1/3 to 1/2 of their annual income during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In a small measure of retaliation, we decided not to spend hardly anything on our Christmas this year. Instead, we decided to focus our attention on the spirit and meaning of Christmas.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly called Mormons, I believe that Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our loving Father in Heaven sent His Son, Jesus Christ into the world. Yes, Mormons are Christians. He was born as a babe in Bethlehem of Judea, lived, died and on the third day, was resurrected so that everyone, good and bad, alike will also receive the gift of resurrection. He also atoned for the sins of all mankind on condition of individual repentance. This same Jesus Christ, healed the sick, raised the dead and showed us all the way to return to live with our families eternally.

I know that God lives and is a kind an loving Father in Heaven. I know that his Son Jesus Christ, the babe of Bethlehem lived and died that we may live.

If you follow His example as closely as possible, you will not only find joy in your life, but you will someday return to live with Him and your Father in Heaven. Specifically, you are to:

Let's all keep the true Spirit of Christmas, that through our faith in Jesus Christ, we may all keep his commandments and fully live the plan of happiness in this life and the next. It is my hope that all of us, can appreciate the real meaning of Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Consumer Price Index and some interesting observations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monitors almost every aspect of American life. One of the more commonly cited is the Consumer Price Index. Almost everyone hears about it going up and very infrequently, going down. But the changes in the CPI never seem to match my impression of reality. For example, this last month gasoline prices dropped over a $1.00 a gallon, about a 33% decrease, however, the CPI on went down about 1%. I began to wonder why.

The base years for the CPI is 1982 to 1984. These years are arbitrarily set at 100. For all of the years before 1984, the CPI is less than 100. It was an average of 9.9 in 1913. If I read this right, from 1913 to 1984, prices went up 1000%. Click on this to see the chart. You math guys out there can correct me if I am wrong. In October of 2008, the CPI stood at 216.573. The highest its been is 219.964 in July of 2008. Other than observing that none of the possible savings accounts I know about will pay interest any where near the increase of 4.1% in 2007, I began to wonder what these figures really said.

There is a chart of all of the components of the CPI and the relative weight given to each component. Click on this to see the chart. I note that gasoline, a relatively large component of my personal expenditures is only 5.215 % of the CPI.

These are the larger percentage categories:

Food and Beverages 14.914%
Housing 42.427 %
Apparel 3.731 %
Transportation 17.688 %
Medical care 6.231 %
Recreation 5.647 %
Education and Communication 6.086 %
Other goods and services (primarily personal care and tobacco) 3.277 %

In examining my own budget these figures are no where near what I personally spend in those categories as a percentage of my gross income. In my case, the number one expenditure is taxes, which are not even mentioned. Another significantly missing item is donations to charities. Now, I understand that the CPI is supposed to measure the overall price of goods and services but in every individual case, it is unlikely that anyone actually spends money in the percentages listed. For example I don't smoke so my expenditures for tobacco are 0 % of my income.

The effect of personal spending habits is that your own personal CPI might be a lot higher or a lot lower than the national averages, depending on your spending habits. For example, if you don't own a car and don't drive, an increase in gasoline only indirectly affects your budget. Since food away from home is 6.173 % of the CPI, you can change the way the CPI affects you personally by merely eating out either more or less often. You can take out 1.811 % of the CPI by not smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages. The CPI is supposed to be designed to exclude investment items, so you can really change the way it affects your personal budget by investing in a home or whatever. Also, the CPI is not designed to reflect changes in purchasing habits due to changes in price. So if you buy hamburger instead of steak, you just get hamburger, you don't change the CPI.

Although the BLS denies that the CPI changes due to politics, it is interesting the rates of inflation are often recalculated after elections, just as the unemployment figures rose for the months before the recent national election when they were recalculated after the election. Politics may not affect the numbers but politics certainly influence the percentage components and the method and timing of the calculations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comments on General Motors and Chrysler

In a radical departure from my previous posts, considering the dramatic economic events, I decided I just had to comment on some of the other things going on in the world.

Presently, the Congress of the United States is considering a bail-out of two of the major car manufacturers, General Motors and Chrysler. I was born on the General Motors side of town, which means me and my family buy General Motors products and disparage Ford and its products. If you aren't aware of this phenomenon, you probably don't read the white lettering on the back of the windows of pickup trucks. However, I am not a purist. We have owned American Motors cars, and a whole variety of foreign makes, including Mazdas, Toyotas and Hondas. Just like everyone else in America, we think Toyotas and Hondas are better made than any American model.

Even though the arguments in Washington center around billions of dollars in aid, I see the problem as being very simple. General Motors cannot make a car without bothersome defects that it refuses to fix in year after year. I purchased my first Chevrolet Suburban about thirty years ago. It was well known at the time, among the truck crowd, that the transmission would go out about 70,000 miles. Mine went out at 72,000 miles. I sold that Suburban when it had 115,000 miles when I thought that buying a newer model might help with all the small things going wrong, like rattles, loose door handles, generally small things that drive you crazy.

My next Suburban not only needed a transmission at about 70,000 miles, it added a whole list of additional buggy items. The worst was a hole in the frame around the passenger side wing window. We stuffed it with felt and didn't ever open the window. It was not something that could be fixed without redesigning the window. I found out by comparison with other owners, that all Suburbans of the same design had the same problem. Year after year, General Motors ignored the problem and kept making the same machine. When the model changed, we bought a Silverado truck.

Now about my truck. The front window has been fixed because it doesn't have the wing window anymore, but now the rear window, on the extended cab model, will not shut entirely causing exactly the same problem with wind noise and air blowing into the cab. I understand that this is a similar general problem. Also, as expected, my transmission failed at about 70,000 miles.

My Honda and my Toyota on the other hand run perfectly. I drove my Honda for over 135,000 miles and never had a major problem that couldn't be fixed. I now have a Toyota Prius and it runs perfectly and everything works. So I know it is possible to make a vehicle that doesn't have inherent obvious defects. It is highly unlikely that I will ever buy a GM or Chrysler product again.

Now, here is the lesson to be learned. You can't keep making cars with defects when other manufacturers are making defect free models and keep selling cars. No bail out will solve this problem. If America wants to compete, it has to compete.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Comments on No Mob Veto from the Deseret News

The Deseret News, the morning daily newspaper in Salt Lake City, Utah ran a longer story about the ad run in the Wall Street Journal by the organization calling itself, No Mob Veto. The article gives an interesting perspective into the opposition to the organization. Apparently, among the same-sex marriage proponents, it is improper for anyone to voice opposition to their cause. As the article quotes:

"The Human Rights Campaign, however, decried the ad, calling it "corporate hypocrisy." "Calls for tolerance of certain religious viewpoints rings hollow in a world where religion often stands by tolerating violence perpetrated on God's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children," said Rev. Erin Swenson, a Presbyterian minister who sits on the HRC's Religion Council."

I guess, from my viewpoint, I am unaware of any U.S. religious organizations that often stand by and tolerate violence. I am also afraid that I do not view the connection between voting for the Marriage Amendment and people who perpetrate violence against the Gay community. It seems to me that ignoring the majority vote of a state's voters and then actively and violently persecuting one religious organization would certainly contribute to feelings of antipathy towards the Gay community, in the very least. From the quote, it is also apparently justified to violently persecute The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the reason that some Gay individuals have been the victims of violence. It is also, from Mr. Swenson's statement, improper for religious organizations to try and defend themselves against the violence. I would strongly disagree with Mr. Swenson's comments.

Friday, December 5, 2008

No Mob Veto -- A new defense organization

I have received E-mails about a new religious defense organization called "No Mob Veto."

The Web site is http://www.nomobveto.org/

The organizers come from a variety of religious backgrounds and state that "despite our fundamental disagreements with one another, we announce today that we will stand shoulder to shoulder to defend any house of worship--Jewish, Christian, Hindu, whatever-- from violence, regardless of the cause that violence seeks to serve.

This is something you should definitely be aware of.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

These are they who protested the Christmas lights

When it is time to vote again or anytime we have our voices heard, let us remember that these are they who protested the Christmas lights.

The Mesa, Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through volunteers, working hundreds of hours, utilizing thousands of lights, each year presents a fabulous presentation of light and sound to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Each night various singing groups, including local school and church choirs, many non-LDS, participate in this annual traditional event. Tens of thousands of people, some by the bus load, come to the Mesa Temple to spend a few minutes lost in the wonder of the miracle of the lights signifying the miracle and light brought to our world by the Savior Jesus Christ.

You can get small idea of the grandeur of the lights and concert schedule from:

http://www.christmastemplelights.com/

However, the families, especially those with small children who love to see the manger scene, will have their visit marred this year by the protest of same-sex marriage activists. These anti-marriage protesters have marched in California and Utah and now Arizona, protesting the participation of the members of the LDS Church in the passage of Proposition 8 in California and Proposition 102 in Arizona. However, they are not just protesting the individual members' rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech and their right to vote, they are protesting against all that is good, decent and traditional about marriage, families and the Christmas season. It is absolutely abhorrent that these people use the celebration of the birth of Christ as a platform for their own personal agenda of intolerance and hate.

As I said at the beginning, and as I will say again, and again, these are the people who protested the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, these are the people who oppose the very sacred nature of our religious observance. They are not looking for "civil rights," they are opposing all that is good, decent and sacred about marriage, the family and our religious beliefs as Christians.

Please help other right thinking Christians to hear this message.

You can find the news article about the protest at:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/2008/11/28/20081128gaymarriage1128.html

Friday, November 28, 2008

Analysis of the philosophical and legal background of the gay-rights movement

In previous posts I have noted that the discussion of same-sex marriage is largely a matter of mindless name calling. It is extremely difficult to find reasoned analysis based on classical philosophical principles. One such discussion was cited in my last post. The author has continued his analysis with reference to established rules of logic. The discussion points up the logical fallacies of the movement.

See http://quantumleap42.blogspot.com/2008/11/incomplete-definitions-and-logical.html

Unfortunately, the rank emotionalism of the same-sex marriage movement is not constrained by logical fallacies.

Another major aspect of the movement is the use of "buzz words," that is, phrases with currency in our society. One of the most overused, is claiming that the issues involve "civil rights." This term has vague, almost folklore meanings, as well as a reference to specific state and Federal laws. Since the common usage of the term extends to almost every conceivable situation where someone feels that there is a personal injustice, that use of the term is useless. The question is, whether, given the thousands of court rulings, the term has a legal meaning?

Since the concept of a civil right, pre-dates our present legal system, we need to see if there is an accepted definition of the term. One good definition is found at

http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/virtual/glossary.htm


Civil Rights: Are rights held by individuals and groups derived from the social contract - the common consent of society at large to the rules under which its members live. The term relates in particular to the ideas outlined by Rousseau in The Social Contract. Under this conception, civil rights derive from society rather than God or nature [see Human Rights, and Natural Rights] and can be changed. On the one hand this gives the state the power to deprive people of liberties they once had (e.g. the ability to drugs, or to drink alcohol), but also enables "progressive" political groups to argue for new "rights", for instance the "right to vote" or the "right to healthcare". Rights such as these cannot be derived from nature as they depend on particular (and not commonly achieved) degrees of social organization and wealth.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not all comments on Proposition 8 are superficial

One of the problems we saw with the news storm about Proposition 8 and the other Marriage Amendments was that the commentary was nearly always superficial and essentially name calling. Very infrequently someone makes a significant statement about the issues involved. If you have any interest in understanding these issues it is important to understand the background philosophical reasons for either supporting or opposing the concept of a marriage amendment.

One of the most significant commentaries can be found at

http://quantumleap42.blogspot.com/


Please take some time to read all of these recent posts. Perhaps we can begin to raise the level of discussion and address some of the real issues of our times.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

California Supreme Court may issue controversial rulings

Recent news coverage has indicated that a decision by the California Supreme Court in favor of overturning Proposition 8 may not be a foregone conclusion. At least one of the Judges has reversed her apparent position on the cases now pending challenging the passage of the Marriage Amendment.

To read an extensive commentary, including links to all of the pertinent news articles, go to:

http://selfevidenttruths-euripides.blogspot.com/2008/11/legal-experts-puzzled.html

LDS Church publishes resources on Proposition 8

Church Public Affairs has published several statements and resources that will help Church members better understand the news media coverage and public reaction to California's Proposition 8.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Old line anti-Mormon activists taking advantage of Proposition 8

There has been some more information on the old line anti-Mormons taking advantage of the sentiment attached to the vote on Proposition 8 in California. Under the guise of supporting gay-rights, the anti-Mormon contingent is actually trying to further their own negative agenda.

See the link at http://selfevidenttruths-euripides.blogspot.com/

The anti-Mormon activists apparent justify their lack of candor in identifying their true affiliation by the fact that they are opposing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gay-Rights Web site a front for Anti-Mormons

There are some excellent articles which strongly indicate that some of the recent supposedly gay-rights activity is actually a front for blatantly anti-Mormon activists. For an analysis of one such Web site see:

http://selfevidenttruths-euripides.blogspot.com/ Self Evident Truths

There is a companion article from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/care-for-the-flock

The LDS Church cites support

In a recent press release The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints summarized a number of messages of support and outrage at the recent attacks by pro-gay groups. The articles cited are worth reading, even if the reader does not agree with the LDS church position. Here is the link to the press release:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/measured-voices-provide-reason-support-amidst-proposition-8-reaction

Friday, November 21, 2008

Please read this very insightful commentary

This is an excellent analysis of the anti-Proposition 8 and anti-LDS Church position. I should be read and disseminated.

http://www.uspoliticalscene.com/?p=108

Thanks.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You may not have noticed, these aren't the sixties

I lived through the 60s and the 70s. I remember going to work in 1967, in South Phoenix and driving through drifts of tear gas and seeing stores boarded up from vandalism. During the time of the Civil Rights movements, the protests were aimed at the government and its leaders in an attempt to end racial seggregation. It is generally agreed that the Civil Rights movement began in 1954 with the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, holding that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The early years were marked by violence, including murder and kidnapping. The rioting continued off and on and erupted again in 1992 in Los Angeles. In all of that turmoil, it was always clear that the issue was the ability of Blacks to participate in the political processes of the United States. There are still parts of the United States that have a long way to go before there is true racial equality.

The current protests and vandalism aimed at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can in no way be characterized as civil rights demonstrations. First of all, we did not fight a Civil War so that people could enter into same-sex marriages. No one is being denied citizenship or the right to vote or being limited in any way in participating fully in the electorial process. The current protests are not directed at the government, but at a religious organization. Even before the California Supreme Court overruled the ban on same-sex marriage, domestic partners in California had virtually every right granted to married couples. Not one of those laws granting rights to domestic partners, is repealed by the passage of Proposition 8. In the case of the earlier racially motivated civil rights protests, the United States government could actually do something about the inequality and it did. There was major legislation in the Civil Rights Acts of 1968 and 1991. The protests against the passage of Proposition 8, however, involve no substantive rights at all.

Unlike the institution of marriage, slavery was never a fundamental and universal basis for society. Slavery was opposed on both moral and religious grounds long before the American Civil War. Church Ministers were some of the most active opponents to slavery. In fact, members of the LDS Church were driven from their homes in 1838 in Missouri under an extermination order for allegedly opposing slavery.

The current protests are motivated by a desire for vengeance. The LDS Church cannot change the law voted on by over 50% of the voters of California. The protesters are essentially trying to deny a majority their own Constitutional rights to peacefully participate in the election process. In effect, punishing the Church and its members for voting in an election and supporting a cause they believe in. There are no parallels with the Civil Rights movement. The protesters' use of the Civil Rights banner in their vindictive punishment of the LDS Church and its members is a mockery of the real Civil Rights movement. Ironically, a large majority of the Black population of California voted for Proposition 8. These same-sex marriage protesters desecrate the very movement they claim to support.

Friday, November 14, 2008

LDS Church responds to acts of terrorism

In a statement, the First Presidency of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that since the Nov. 4 election, places of worship have been targeted with protests and vandalism.

"People of faith have been intimidated for simply exercising their democratic rights. These are not actions that are worthy of the democratic ideals of our nation," the statement said. "The end of a free and fair election should not be the beginning of a hostile response in America."

The LDS Church said it was keenly aware of the "differences of opinion on this difficult and sensitive manner," but the First Presidency expressed disappointment in what it has seen since Prop. 8 passed.

"We call upon those who have honest disagreements on this issue to urge restraint upon the extreme actions of a few that are further polarizing our communities and urge them to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other," the statement said.

This message was issued in response to envelopes of a white powdery substance being sent to LDS Church headquarters and to LDS Temples.

See http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705263061,00.html

If you express your position in a free and open election, apparently those who disagree with you are entitled to use terrorism to suppress your opinion?

The full statement can be found at:

http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng

In another article, an LDS Web site was attacked.

Scott Proctor of Meridian magazine said the site was hacked into early Nov. 5, and its home page was replaced with "horrible, explicit lesbians films placed all over the cover." Engineers took the site down immediately after the break-in was discovered, he said.

The company's Internet technology director said the electronic breach occurred in "a very elegant way. They had to have someone who really knew what they were doing to accomplish it the way they did it."

I don't remember any reports of picketing, vandalism, hacking or mailing of substances by LDS Church members. LDS temples in California, Salt Lake City and New York have been the subject of mass demonstrations over the faith's heavy involvement in the campaign to pass Proposition 8. More demonstrations are planned this weekend over marriage and gay rights — including a pair of demonstrations in Salt Lake City.

See http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705263061,00.html

I am sure that there will be more to follow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fallout from Proposition 8 is national news

Apparently passing the Marriage Amendments was only the beginning. As a trial attorney, this is what I expected to happen. A report in the Salt Lake Tribune entitled "Complaint: LDS Church underreported Prop 8 role" claims that:

"Californians Against Hate, an independent nonprofit organization committed to shining the spotlight on hefty donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, upped the ante against the LDS Church today. The group filed a complaint with California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), claiming The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints failed to report non-monetary contributions that helped pass the measure - one that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, issuing a huge blow to the movement for same-sex marriages."

"But LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter issued a strong response this afternoon, saying the church "fully complied with the reporting requirements of the California Political Reform Act," relied on advice from experienced California counsel and made no violations when it came to reporting expenditures. In fact, he added in a written statement, the LDS Church "filed four reports with California authorities; these reports are a matter of public record. A further report will be filed on or before its due date, January 30, 2009. . . The so-called 'sworn complaint' filed by Fred Karger with California and Utah authorities has many errors and misstatements. Any investigation would confirm the Church's full compliance with applicable law."

See http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_10975443

It looks like full time work for a lot of attorneys for a long time. Meanwhile the protesters in the streets have spread as far as New York. An estimated 10,000 people protested outside the Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints near Lincoln Center.

See http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,451446,00.html

"Mormon church spokesman Michael Otterson said that while he respected citizens' right to protest, he was "puzzled" and "disturbed" by the gathering given that the majority of California's voters approved the amendment."

"This was a very broad-based coalition that defended traditional marriage in a free and democratic election," Otterson said Wednesday before the rally's start, referring to Protestants, Catholics, evangelicals and Jews as well as Mormons. "It's a little disturbing to see these protesters singling out the Mormon church," he said. "What exactly are these people protesting?"

Ironically, New York courts have rejected lawsuits attempting to legalize same-sex marriages.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_New_York

Same-sex marriage proponents initially sought the legalization of same-sex marriage through New York's courts. Five separate suits were filed seeking same-sex marriage. At the trial level, four failed and one succeeded (though it was stayed and later reversed). At the intermediate appellate level, four failed and one was not decided. The cases were all rolled into one and heard by the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, on May 31, 2006. On July 6, 2006 the Court of Appeals in Hernandez v. Robles decided that New York law does not permit same-sex marriage and that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Catholic Bishops support LDS Church

Attacks against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by opponents of Proposition 8 in California were decried by two Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. Statements released by the LDS Church Newsroom are as follows:

http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/catholic-bishops-decry-religious-bigotry-against-mormons

The statements emphasis the diversity of the proponents of each of the three Amendments passed in the General Election.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Punish the state?

The recent political campaigns concerning Marriage Amendments didn't involve Utah voters, but the State of Utah will pay anyway. Gay activists are blaming the Church for the passage of the three Constitutional Amendments, especially in California. See the article in the The Arizona Republic for November 10, 2008.

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2008/11/08/20081108MormonsGayMarriage1108.html


Think about it. If you don' t agree with my position, I will get everyone to boycott your whole state! Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion go out the window. Not content with protests aimed at the Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential blogger in Washington, D.C. said, "They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards," he said. "You don't do that and get away with it." He went on to say, "The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand," he said. "At this point, honestly, we're going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state."

The irony of this position is highlighted by a companion article in the Arizona Republic, published on November 8, 2008 from the Washington Post. The article claims that "seven in 10 African-Americans who went to the polls voted yes on Proposition 8, the ballot measure overruling a state Supreme Court judgment that legalized same-sex marriage..."

See http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2008/11/08/20081108BlacksGayMarriage1108.html

So now are the gay activists going to boycott Southern States that have large Black populations?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A new Utah War?

In 1857, the President of the United States, James Buchanan, was persuaded by anti-Mormon sentiment and agitators to send the U.S. Army to "put down the rebellion in Utah." At the time, this was arguably the one of the largest, if not the largest military campaign undertaken by the United States in that period of our history. The War is also known as "Buchanan's Blunder" due to the fact that there was no rebellion. Nevertheless, the confrontation lasted from May, 1857 to July, 1858. Ironically, the General sent by Buchanan to put down the rebellion, Albert Sidney Johnston, became a General in Confederate Army and fought against the Union.

From current news articles, the United States apparently hasn't moved very far from that level of irrational anti-Mormon sentiment of the 1800s. With the recent passage, by three states, California, Arizona and Florida, of Marriage Amendments, mobs of Gay activists have attacked Mormon Temple sites in California and Utah and the government has stood by and allowed the attacks.

Here are several news stories of the confrontation.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-11-09-protests_N.htm?csp=34

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,705261463,00.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-protests9-2008nov09,0,7790800.story


Significantly, the L.A. Times news article ignores the specific attacks on the Church at the Los Angeles Temple.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-141635


What is significant about these attacks is the fact that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comprise less than 2% of the population of California and 52% of the population voted in favor of the amendment. Further, the attacks include specific threats to kill members of the Church.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=80220

The Church has responded with clear statements:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-issues-statement-on-proposition-8-protest

If this type of mob activity was directed at Jews, Blacks or Muslims, or other similar minority, the outrage and outcry would have swept the country. But, because the target is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, apparently we are still in the 1800s.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not teenage vandals against Proposition 102

During a discussion of the removal of a large number of signs in support of Proposition 102, a neighbor commented that he had seen an older male in a white SUV removing the signs from people's yards. The neighbor indicated that he jumped in his car and tried to get a license plate number, but the SUV driver realized he was being followed, and sped off. If you think that the removal of one type of sign from a whole street in a neighborhood is just teenage vandalism, then think again.

The news is buzzing with the story of major California corporations announcing huge donations to defeat Proposition 8. Sorry to say that Apple and Google are both prominently mentioned as opposing the Amendment. Just as with the idea that the sign removal is somehow a local prank, the idea that there are not huge vested interests promoting same-sex marriage is very, very naive. The situation reminds me of the conditions prevalent at the time of the destruction of the Nephites, where the people deliberately chose wrong doing. It is a sad commentary on our society, if we cannot muster a majority willing to support and preserve marriage.

If Arizona legalizes same-sex marriage, I, for one, will seriously consider moving out of the state.

Another video in support of Proposition 102

This is really a video produced in support of Proposition 8 in California, but it certainly applies in Arizona.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1815825713?bctid=1819819843

You may wish to send a link to this video out to your friends, neighbors and anyone else you can think of.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage

Please take the time to view the new Website "Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage." Please make all of your friends and family aware of the Website and put links to the site where ever possible. It is absolutely important that this message have as wide a distribution as possible.

http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vandalism aimed at Proposition 102 Signs

These are photos of what is left of a large number of signs supporting Proposition 102 including the one in my front yard. This destruction is systematic, only targeting Proposition 102 signs. It is incredible that those opposing the Marriage Amendment can go onto private property and destroy signs. It is also incredible that these extensive acts of vandalism go unreported in the media.

I may not agree with my neighbors, but my disagreement does not extend to going onto their private property and removing their campaign signs, no matter what their political preference. This vandalism is symptomatic of the attitude of those opposing the marriage amendment, not only do they disagree, they believe we have no right to our opinions in support of marriage.


Sign sticks scattered in the street and on the sidewalk


A torn sign


Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Proposition 102 is one of many issues

It is always interesting to see how the news media handles current issues. I remember the reporting years ago during the Vietnam War era. The media was caught up in the day to day reporting of bombing raids and battles, along with reporting about the anti-war movements on the home front. Without going into a long analysis, the history books that are now coming out about the War paint a far different picture of what happened than that being presented in the newspapers and on the daily TV newscasts. With this long term perspective, I have learned to view any day-to-day reports on major events with scepticism.

Recently, the Arizona Republic has used the phrase "separation of church and state" in the context of the religious organization's involvement in supporting Proposition 102. Apparently, no one on the Arizona Republic newspaper staff has any background in history, political science or has bothered to read the U.S. Constitution. Separation of church and state involves the issue of government sponsored religions, such as the historical involvement of the Church of England or the Catholic Church in Spain and other predominantly Catholic countries.

Wikipedia has a fair discussion of this topic at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state#cite_note-39

The Wikipedia article contains a brief statement of the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article says:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long held to the doctrine of separation of church and state originating in part from the long antagonism local and state governments have had towards their faith. Mormon writings have affirmed "[n]o domination of the state by the church; No church interference with the functions of the state; No state interference with the functions of the church, or with the free exercise of religion; The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs; The equality of all churches before the law. The Church's official Articles of Faith, which outline the basic beliefs of the church, state that: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law".40 41

The two citations are:

40. Clark, James R. (1965). Messages of the First Presidency. Brigham Young University, Department of Educational Leadership & Foundations.
41. Political Neutrality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (2006).

Participation in the political process by advocating a moral position has absolutely nothing to do with the separation of church and state and references to that principal show the lack of understanding of those quoted and of the media representatives or reporters making the quotes. Claiming that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or any other church, violates the separation of church and state when expressing a position on a moral issue is at best, misleading and at worst propaganda. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Let's focus on issues, not on unsupported emotional appeals to principals that have nothing to do with Proposition 102.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More newspaper coverage of Proposition 102

In addition to an editorial, labeled as such, against Proposition 102, on October 19, 2008, the Arizona Republic felt it necessary to run another editorial under the guise of a news article. The article, entitled "Churches can tout issues, not hopefuls" the Republic writer began her article by quoting a person who described herself as a "nominal Mormon." Right next to the article, in the on-line version, the Arizona Republic listed information on each of the propositions. It is noteworthy that Proposition 102 is not identified by its actual name. The Republic, decided to get in another editorial by refering to Proposition 102 as the "Gay Marriage Ban" instead of its official title.

The news article was directed at the issue of religious organizations' involvement in the political process. However, the Republic felt it necessary to start and end their article with references to the "Mormon Church." As an aside, why does the media always include a quote from someone who admits to either being inactive in or opposed to the target religious organization?

Buried in the middle of the article is the comment: "Attorney Ellis M. Carter, who specializes in charitable-organization tax work, said the law is on the churches' side. Everyone, including a non-profit, has a First Amendment right to speak out on an issue," Carter said."

The heart of the matter is this, as stated by Attorney Carter, religious organizations have First Amendment rights, just as does the author of the Republic article and just as the Republic itself has. Proposition 102 is not a "Mormon" issue, it is a fundamental concern of all those who believe in the sanctity of marriage. It is lamentable that the Arizona Republic somehow feels compelled to take a position that is clearly against the mainstream beliefs of the vast majority of people in Arizona.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Response to the Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic in its lead editorial for Monday, October 20, 2008, came out against Proposition 102, the Marriage Amendment. It is incredible that the Arizona Republic would buy into the superficial argument that the Amendment is not needed because "the state already has a law prohibiting" same-sex marriage. I can only suppose that they didn't "buy into" the arguments, but intentionally, and knowingly, took the position it did, realizing full well that defeat of Proposition 102, will open the door to an immediate attack on the constitutionality of Arizona's existing law, just as was done in California, Massachusetts and recently, in Connecticut.

The Arizona Republic also argues that "Changing the Constitution is a very serious step that has ripple effects throughout the legal system." Why, if the law is unneeded, would Proposition 102 have ripple effects. The two positions are exactly opposite; either we already have a law or we do not have a law. If we have a law and a Constitutional Amendment is not needed, then adding the Constitutional Amendment will add nothing to the law. It is irresponsible to make a blatant double argument, and also claim that passing the unneeded law will have "unintended consequences."

One of the very intended consequences of Proposition 102 would be to prevent activists judges from declaring the current Arizona law unconstitutional. Passing a Constitutional Amendment is the only way to prevent this serious and harmful consequence.

The Arizona Republic editorial then has the audacity to decry the high divorce rate and the break-down of marriage in the United States and then claims that "Arizona could use strong advocates of marriage." Why would a "strong advocate" of marriage oppose a proposition aimed at shoring up the divine institution of marriage? It is obvious why newspapers, like the Arizona Republic have cut down the size of their print editions and are losing advertisers, they are entirely out of touch with the majority of the state.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Benefits of Proposition 102

One of my neighbors has a sign in support of Proposition 102 in his front yard. Almost every day the sign has been knocked over or destroyed. He is honored that he can participate in a cause that is so positive that someone feels it is necessary to destroy his sign every day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Videos in support of Proposition 102

Here are a few videos in support of Proposition 102:

http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ Preserving the Divine Insitution of Marriage



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__rgv-sUpY0&NR=1 Discussion on Proposition 8

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TV ads on Proposition 102

I saw my first TV ad opposing Proposition 102 last night. The main statement was that we already had a law in Arizona and didn't need more. Also, that government has no business in the area of marriage. Lastly, they claimed that we had already voted on this issue before and with all the other important issues out there, we didn't need to be forced to vote again.

The first issue is true, but very misleading. It is true that Arizona already has laws regarding marriage, however, it is equally true that, absent a Constitutional Amendment, the Arizona Courts could overturn those laws at any time, just as was done in California and Massachusetts, and now most recently, during this campaign, in Connecticut. This strategy of the opposition is aimed at preserving their option to attack the laws in the Courts.

The second issue is pure propaganda and untrue. If government, including our judicial system, shouldn't interfere in the area of marriage, then why do the activist resort to the courts to change the law? They maintain that it is none of government's business to preserve marriage, but it certainly in the interests of the governments, i.e. the courts, to destroy it.

The last issue is even more misleading that the other two. Yes, there was a previous proposition that was defeated. No, it is not the same as Proposition 102. There is an implication that we shouldn't worry about marriage and the family because there are so many other "more important" issues out there. There are no more important issues right now, certainly none of those opposing Proposition 102 have proposed anything for this election addressing any of these more important issues. I haven't commented on any of the other ballot propositions, maybe I should, but some of them, like raising legislative salaries, have been voted and defeated in every election that I can remember. Is this one of those more important issues we should focus on rather than preserving the family and the sanctity of marriage?

Those supporting Proposition 102, the Marriage Amendment, have no hidden agenda. Read the Divine Institution of Marriage (see the sidebar) if you want to know what that agenda is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Arizona has a law on marriage, so did California, Florida and Connecticut

There is is a totally irrelevant repetition of the claim that "Arizona has a law on marriage." This is a non-argument. California, Connecticut and Massachusetts all had laws as well!

Proposition 102 signs vandalized

News reports of the vandalism of signs promoting Proposition 102 are definitely on the increase. Unfortunately, many of the vandalism events, including stealing the signs, go unreported. In our neighborhood, a whole street's signs disappeared. Some of the news reports come from places around the State.

In Show Low, vandals struck the Calvary Baptist church the night of Sept. 22, directing their efforts towards a sign professing the church's support for Proposition 102.

See http://www.wmicentral.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20148442&BRD=2264&PAG=461&dept_id=505965&rfi=6

The senior pastor of the Church was quoted as saying: "It's what we're for, not what we're against," he said. "Marriage is a huge tenant of our society. And that's why you've had Catholics, Mormons and evangelicals come together and say, 'We are for what God is for and God is for marriage.'"

Here is a link to a site where the writers "cheered like crazy when we saw this vandalized sign."
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/13/193310/64

Another view:
http://sonoranalliance.com/?p=3112

Here is the ABC News report on the vandalism:
http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/story.aspx?content_id=c6a70ac8-1b7a-4f6d-855e-b08cef4fedb3
It is interesting to read the comments.

It is also interesting that there appears to be no other systematic vandalism of any of the hundreds (thousands) (millions?) of campaign signs around the city.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Connecticut legalizes same-sex marriage

While constitutional amendments are pending in three states, the Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the state's marriage law as unconstitutional. For a New York Times article on the decision see:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/nyregion/11marriage.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Is there any better reason to vote for Proposition 102 than to allow a one judge majority to overrule the sanctity of marriage?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The need for a marriage amendment in the form of Proposition 102

One of the common criticisms leveled at Proposition 102 is that Arizona law already adequately supports marriage between one man and one woman and there is no need for a constitutional amendment. At the same time, opponents of Proposition 102 maintain that the proposed Amendment is "mean spirited" and would discriminate against those with same-sex relationships. These two positions are incompatible, a law cannot be unnecessary and discriminatory at the same time.

Those who claim that Proposition 102 is unnecessary are not being entirely candid, they know full well that unless the law is codified in the state constitution, any court in Arizona could hold the existing law to be unconstitutional and thereby void all of the existing laws, just as happened in California. They oppose Proposition 102 not because it is unnecessary, but because they would then lose the opportunity to challenge the existing laws through the Court system. Passage of Proposition 102 is necessary to foreclose that avenue of attack on the institution of marriage.

The further criticism, that the effort to pass Proposition 102 is a mean spirited attempt to deny people their "rights" and to discriminate, is also misdirected. When the California Court decided the marriage cases, they created rights that had never previously existed. The most recent case on this subject in Arizona is the case of Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel. County of Maricopa, 206 Ariz. 276, 77 P. 3d 451 (App. 2003).

In that case, the Arizona Court of Appeals held as follows:

"Recently, in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, ----, 123 S.Ct. 2472, 2484, 156 L.Ed.2d 508 (2003), the United States Supreme Court struck a Texas statute that prohibited certain sexual activity between persons of the same sex. The Court reasoned that the statute impermissibly infringed on homosexuals' liberty interest under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to engage in private, consensual sexual activity without state intervention. Id.
In the wake of Lawrence, we are asked to declare that Arizona's prohibition of same-sex marriages,Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) sections 25-101(C) and -125(A) (2003), similarly violates the federal and state constitutions. For the reasons that follow, we hold that Arizona's prohibition of such state-licensed unions does not violate Petitioners' rights under either constitution. Therefore, although we accept jurisdiction of this special action, we deny relief to Petitioners."

The Court of Appeals held that the Petitioners did not have a fundamental right to marry each other. The Court explained its position as follows:

"Petitioners contend that the State's purpose in prohibiting same-sex marriages is to “single out gay persons to impose a particular disability on them,” which cannot serve a legitimate state objective for the reasons explained in Romer v. Evans. In Romer, the Court addressed an equal protection challenge to Colorado's “Amendment 2” to its constitution, which prohibited all legislative, executive, or judicial action designed to protect homosexual persons from discrimination. 517 U.S. at 624, 116 S.Ct. 1620. The Court held that Amendment 2 did not bear a rational relation to a legitimate end due to its “peculiar property of imposing a broad and undifferentiated disability on a single named group,” with a breadth “so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class it affects.” Id. at 632, 116 S.Ct. 1620.
In contrast to Amendment 2, A.R.S. §§ 25-101(C) and -125(A) are not so exceptional and unduly broad as to render the State's reasons for their enactment “inexplicable by anything but animus” towards Arizona's homosexual residents. Arizona's prohibition of same-sex marriages furthers a proper legislative end and was not enacted simply to make same-sex couples unequal to everyone else. Cf. Romer, 517 U.S. at 635, 116 S.Ct. 1620 (concluding that “Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else”). Consequently, we reject Petitioners' equal protection challenge to A.R.S. §§ 25-101(C) and -125(A)."

The Court of Appeals goes on to discuss, at length, the issues of due process, equal protection and the application of Arizona's explicit privacy provision as contained in the Arizona Constitution. The Court concludes as follows:

"For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the fundamental right to marry protected by our federal and state constitutions does not encompass the right to marry a same-sex partner. Moreover, although many traditional views of homosexuality have been recast over time in our state and Nation, the choice to marry a same-sex partner has not taken sufficient root to receive constitutional protection as a fundamental right. Because Arizona's prohibition against same-sex marriage rationally furthers a legitimate state interest, we further decide that the prohibition does not deprive Petitioners of their constitutional rights to substantive due process, privacy, or equal protection of the laws. Consequently, it is for the people of Arizona, through their elected representatives or by using the initiative process, rather than this court, to decide whether to permit same-sex marriages. Having accepted jurisdiction of this special action, we deny relief."

The entire case can be reviewed at http://www.cofad1.state.az.us/opinionfiles/SA/SA030150.pdf

In essence the Court holds that the present law does not discriminate because neither Arizona law nor the U.S. Supreme Court recognize same-sex marriages as a constitutional right.

However, as the Court notes "it is for the people of Arizona, through their elected representatives or by using the initiative process, rather than this court, to decide whether to permit same-sex marriages." That is exactly what Proposition 102 is intended to do.

More later on discrimination

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Proposition 102 -- The Marriage Amendment - more comments on the Arizona Republic

As late as the early years of the Twentieth Century, In the United States, people with Jewish surnames were often denied accommodation at the hotels and even restaurants. This early form of racial profiling caused many Jewish immigrants to "Americanize" their names.

See for example http://www.aish.com/societyWork/work/The_Jewish_Ethicist_Racial_Profiling_I.asp

As recently as 1997, the City of Chandler, Arizona ended up in the Federal Court as a result of actions taken against the Hispanic community involving racial profiling.

These practices are almost universally decried in the Press, but apparently, it is not objectionable for the opponents of Proposition 102 to use "Mormon" names to single out and persecute those who favor the Marriage Amendment. In the Arizona Republic article of October 3, 2008 Arizona State Representative Sinema is quoted as stating that "her campaign has identified many of the contributors [in favor of Proposition 102] as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through ... recognition of well-known Mormon names." Apparently, if you have a well-known Mormon name, whatever that is, you cannot participate in the political process in Arizona. Representative Sinema's question, as quoted, is: "Why is one group so determined to inject itself into government?" A group she identifies by their Mormon-sounding surnames.

I find it outrageous that I could be singled out in the Arizona Republic for donating to an important social and political issue merely because I have a "Mormon-sounding" surname. Why is the Arizona Republic participating in this activity which is only a small step away from racial profiling and outright persecution of a religious minority?

I would suggest that anyone who has not investigated and read the background of the Marriage Amendment needs to do their homework. Please read:

The Divine Institution of Marriage

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-divine-institution-of-marriage

Friday, October 3, 2008

Media Coverage of Proposition 102 Continues

In the Arizona Republic print edition of the newspaper for October 3, 2008, the front page of Section B has an article entitled "Faith groups backing Prop. 102" with a subtitle of "6.9 mil raised to support marriage amendment." However, interestingly, the Web based article has the title "Gay marriage opponents raise $6.9 million," in a not-so-subtile shift in the characterization of Proposition 102. See the Web article at:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/10/03/20081003marriagemoney1003.html

Although the article maintains that "Because donors are not required to disclose thier religious affiliation, it is impossible to quantify the donations from church groups that support or oppose the referendum," the article quotes the opposition as having identified "many of the contributors as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Why do you think the doners are not required to disclose their religious affiliation? Could it be that the Constitution protects our religious freedom? Could it be that the reason is to prevent the persucution and attacks on any one religious group? It is absolutely reprehensible that a State Legislator would feel that she could violate a religious group's constitiutional rights, with the implication, from her statements, that the LDS Church should not be allowed to participate in the political process. Why does it raise "dangerous implications about the relationship of church and state" when the members of a religious denomination donate to a cause they believe in? Why is the Arizona Republic supporting this anti-religious position?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Proposition 102 - The Marriage Amendment -- an issue of broad concern

If you believe the opposition to Proposition 102, that this is a Mormon issue, please review the following Website:

Catholic Vote

http://catholicvote.com

Media coverage heating up on Proposition 102

The East Valley Tribune ran a story with the headline:

Arizonans support ban on same-sex marriage

See http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/127053

It is interesting to that Representative Sinema announced that the opposition is winning. It is interesting to note that the article now characterizes the Marriage Amendment as a "ban on same-sex marriage." It is also interesting to note that article on mentions "Proposition 102" once in the article and otherwise the proposition is neither quoted nor further identified except with the emotionally charged title of the article. This isn't news reporting, once again, this is propaganda.

The same article appears in the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson with the headline:

Gay-nuptials ban favored in poll; foe says it'll lose

See http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/byauthor/260208

This title is even more objectionable in a supposedly news story. It is clearly an opinion and should be labeled as such. It is reprehensible that a news organization allows this kind of propaganda to pass as news.

The articles were both written by Howard Fischer of the Capital Media Services. "Capital Media Services" is a registered trade name of the reporter, Howard Fischer who has an address in Laveen, Arizona. Capital Media Services does not appear as an organized business entity and does not appear on the Arizona Corporation Commission Website other than as a trade name. So far I have been unable to find any biographical information on Mr. Fischer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reflections on the controversy -- The Arizona Marriage Amendment Proposition 102

It is interesting to review the comments made by those professing to oppose Proposition 102. The opponents seem to repeat two main assumptions as if they were proven facts rather than propaganda. First, that Proposition 102 is somehow a Mormon conspiracy and second that the first assumption is "proven" by looking at the names of the people who have donated money in support of Proposition 102.

The first assumption is simply not supported by the facts. The mere fact that a religious organization supports Proposition 102 does not mean, or even imply, that there is some kind of conspiracy. This same assumption was undoubtedly tried in each of the other 44 states that have already passed the same kind of law or amendment without support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [To see a summary of which states have passed laws and which have passed amendments, see http://www.heritage.org/research/family/marriage50/ ] Secondly, it is no secret that the LDS Church and many of its members, support the Marriage Amendments in Arizona, California and Florida.

To quote George W. Bush, President of the United States of America in a speech given at the White House in June of 2006:

"Today, 45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. These amendments and laws express a broad consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage. The people have spoken. Unfortunately, this consensus is being undermined by activist judges and local officials who have struck down state laws protecting marriage and made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage."

Further quoting the President:

"THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House. It is a pleasure to be with so many fine community leaders, scholars, family organizations, religious leaders, Republicans, Democrats, independents. Thank you all for coming.
You come from many backgrounds and faith traditions, yet united in this common belief: Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges. (Applause.) You are here because you strongly support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and I am proud to stand with you. (Applause.)"

See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/06/20060605-2.html

To single out the LDS Church for the reason that the Church and its members support Proposition 102 is bigotry and blatantly anti-religious. The Marriage Amendment transcends any one group or religion. It is a fundamental issue for our entire society. To again quote President Bush:

"Since 2004, state courts in Washington and California and Maryland and New York have ruled against marriage laws. Last year, a federal judge in Nebraska overturned a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, an amendment that was approved by 70 percent of the population. And at this moment, nine states face lawsuits challenging the marriage laws they have on the books."

That challenge is continuing and will not stop. But to attempt to turn the issue of the support of Proposition 102 into an anti-Mormon bash is intollerant and inexcusable.

My present venue may not have an extensive distribution, but I can, without reservation say that I support Proposition 102.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Arizona Marriage Amendment -- Comments from the Arizona Republic

For a change, the media provided a fairly accurate and unbiased report on Proposition 102. See

http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2008/09/28/20080928marriage0928.html

At least the news report indicated one of the basic reasons for passing a constitutional amendment. It is nice to see something not entirely negative.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Marriage Amendment -- Sifting out the lies

One of the issues raised by those opposing Proposition 102 is the the government should not be in the marriage business. For a blatant example of how this issue has been distorted, I suggest a search in Wikipedia on the words: "marriage license." To quote:

"The concept of a Marriage License was introduced in the 1920s, when 38 states prohibited whites from marrying Blacks,Mulattos, Japanese, Chinese,Indians, Mongolians, Malays,or Filipinos without a state approved license.Thus the institution of marriage was fundamentally changed."

This is a complete fabrication and is obvious to anyone familiar with public records. In the United States, marriage license application records are generally available beginning after the American Civil War in the mid-1800s. Marriage records, themselves are found as early as the 1600s in Colonial town records. See for example:

Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006. Pages 87 to 103. [Note: This book is available in digitized format through Google Books.]

[As a side note, by the way, don't believe everything you read in Wikipedia.]

Why would someone want you to believe that the concept of a marriage license was "invented" for the purpose of discrimination? It is obvious, given the arguments of those opposing marriage, that they wish us to believe that the very concept of marriage discriminates. As it states in The Divine Institution of Marriage (See link in side bar):

"In recent years in the United States and other countries, a movement has emerged to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right. This is not a small step, but a radical change: instead of society tolerating or accepting private, consensual sexual behavior between adults, advocates of same-sex marriage seek its official endorsement and recognition."

If they can make you believe that the institution of marriage should not be a subject of concern for the government, they may also get you to believe that the Marriage Amendment is a governmental intrusion into an area previously outside of the government's interest and control. The fact is, governments have been in the marriage business for hundreds of years, due to the fundamental nature of the family unit and pervasiveness of family and marriage laws in our society. Those who advocate same-sex marriage and not just concerned with labels, they are attempting fundamentally alter the way our society considers the institution of marriage.

Again to quote from The Divine Institution of Marriage:

"Finally, throughout history the family has served as an essential bulwark of individual liberty. The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong families are thus vital for political freedom. But when governments presume to redefine the nature of marriage, issuing regulations to ensure public acceptance of non-traditional unions, they have moved a step closer to intervening in the sacred sphere of domestic life. The consequences of crossing this line are many and unpredictable, but likely would include an increase in the power and reach of the state toward whatever ends it seeks to pursue."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Arizona Marriage Amendment -- A little historical perspective

One of the more common criticisms of Proposition 102 seems to be that it isn't needed. In examining this criticism it is helpful to have a little historic perspective. Previously, in 2006, there was another ballot measure known then a Proposition 107. That measure was significantly different than the present Proposition 102 and was even more vigorously opposed. The opponents of the measure initially fought Proposition 107 in the courts, taking a case to the Arizona Supreme Court. That case was:

ARIZONA TOGETHER, an unincorporated association; Kaitlin Meadows; Albert Lannon; Amalia Antonioli; Frank Montoya; Al Brezney; Maxine Piatt; Paul Knobbe; Teresa Hewitt; Glen Cromer; and Rebecca Miller, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Janice K. BREWER, in her official capacity as Secretary of State for the State of Arizona, Defendant-Appellee, and Protect Marriage Arizona, an unincorporated association, Real Party in Interest.

At that time the opponents tried to prevent the measure from even being placed on the ballot. Chief Justice McGregor summarized the history of the case and the Court holding as follows:

"The question presented is whether Proposition 107, a constitutional amendment proposed by voter initiative, complies with the separate amendment rule of Article 21, Section 1 of the Arizona Constitution. Proposition 107 would amend the constitution by adding a new Article 30 defining “marriage” and prohibiting the state and its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing a legal status for unmarried persons similar to that of marriage.The appellants, opponents of Proposition 107, brought this action pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 19-122.C (2002) to enjoin the Secretary of State from placing the measure on the ballot in the 2006 general election. Appellant Arizona Together argues that Proposition 107 does not constitute a single amendment, but rather is a composite of three unrelated provisions. In particular, Arizona Together asserts that, if enacted, Proposition 107 not only would define marriage but also could (1) prohibit same sex marriages, (2) prohibit civil unions and domestic partnerships, and (3) prohibit the state and its political subdivisions from conferring benefits and rights on domestic partners. After a hearing, the superior court concluded that Proposition 107 constitutes a single amendment in light of the test established by this Court in Kerby v. Luhrs, 44 Ariz. 208, 36 P.2d 549 (1934). On August 31, 2006, we entered an order affirming the judgment of the superior court, with this opinion to follow."

This decision came after the ballot measure had already been defeated at the polls.

The Supreme Court went on to note that "No section of the Arizona Constitution presently purports to define marriage." The Court noted that had it passed Proposition 107 would "operate as the only provision of the constitution addressing this subject." In other words there are no other similar provisions in Arizona. The wording of the present Proposition 102 is similar to the opening phrase of Proposition 107. So, in response to the criticism that there is no need of the new law, we have the statement of the Arizona Supreme Court that no similar provision exists in the Arizona State Constitution.

Judge McGregor went on to write:

"Our focus upon the treatment afforded by the Arizona Constitution leads us to conclude that Arizona Together's reliance on various Arizona statutes concerning marriage and domestic partner rights does not advance our inquiry. Merely showing that the legislature has addressed an issue in various places in Arizona's statutory scheme fails to demonstrate that the specific concerns addressed by each statute would not constitute a “single subject in constitutional amendments.” See id. at 397, 265 P.2d at 452 (emphasis added). Because Arizona has not historically treated the definition of marriage in the state constitution, we find little guidance from this factor."

In other words the Supreme Court did not consider the existence of other statutory provisions to be relevant to the issue. Without a constitutional amendment defining marriage the Arizona Supreme Court would be free to consider whatever other issues it wished in an analysis of the constitutionality of the present statutes. It is clear that Proposition 102 is needed to prevent the Arizona Courts from doing the same thing done by the California Court.

If you would like to read the entire Arizona Supreme Court decision, see:

http://www.supreme.state.az.us/opin/pdf2007/cv060277apel.pdf

More later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Arizona Marriage Amendment -- Myths and Fables from the Opposition

In reviewing the arguments against Proposition 102 it is apparent that the opposition frequently resorts to myths and fables with no real substance. Rather than acknowledge that a real issue exists and that there is main stream, substantial support for Proposition 102, the Marriage Amendment, the critics resort to catch phrases and propaganda.

From Wikipedia:

Propaganda is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda

Here are some of the oppositions' myths and fables:

Myth #1:
Arizona law already prohibits same-sex marriage and so there is no need for the Constitutional Amendment.

Reality:
California already had a state law defining marriage but the California Court held the law to be unconstitutional, that is the Court placed the rights of same-sex couples to have their relationship called a "marriage" on the same basis as the freedom of speech, religion and assembly. If you understand the ruling from the California Supreme Court, you can see that the only way to limit the courts' continued expansion of these so-called rights, is at the constitutional level. Hundreds of organizations, many of them international in nature, appeared in the California Court case in favor of finding the California Law unconstitutional and legalizing same-sex marriage. It is entirely naive to believe that these proponents of same-sex marriage would not target the current Arizona law and any other state law not supported by a constitutional provision.

Myth #2:
Proposition 102 is religiously motivated and therefore should not be passed.

Reality:
Restated this myth says that voters should not consider any religiously motivated laws. The proponents of this position oppose any religious involvement in government. They advocate not just freedom of religion, but freedom from religion. The opponents imply that since marriage has only a religious basis, religious organizations have no right to be heard on this subject (or any other) in our society.

Myth #3:
The passage of Proposition 102 would "discriminate" against members of our society.

Reality:
To argue that Proposition 102 would discriminate while at the same time argue that Arizona already has a prohibition against same-sex marriage and that Proposition 102 is not needed, is double talk. The real issue is that the proponents of same-sex marriage presently see the possibility of overturning the statutory law in Arizona through the Courts. That option would be limited through the passage of Proposition 102. It was only because the California Court broadly expanded the definition of discrimination that the Court could find their law "discriminatory." The California Court broadened the definition merely because they believed that same-sex couples had a right to feel good about themselves and their relationship while at the same time the Court acknowledged that under California law, same-sex couples already had access to virtually every program and protection offered to married couples. The California case wasn't about rights, it was about labels. Since the current Arizona law does not recognize "same-sex" marriage as a protected class, Proposition 102 cannot, by definition, discriminate.

Myth #4:
Government should not be in the marriage business.

Reality:
This position is essentially the same as the one claiming that Proposition 102 is religiously motivated. This same line of reasoning can be used to ultimately do away with any government regulation. Government is in the "marriage business." Historically, regulation of marriage relationships and marriage licenses have been part of our society and government for hundreds of years. However, this statement reveals that the opponents of Proposition 102 really would like to overrule the existing laws in Arizona, the very laws they say makes the Constitutional Amendment unnecessary. Arizona is a community property state. Entire structures of our state laws, not to mention the foundations of our society are consistent with the definition contained in Proposition 102. Everything from divorce laws to probate laws derive many of their provisions from the assumed definition of marriage. All of these interrelated laws do not reflect any one particular religion or belief, they do, however, reflect a social/economic unit that has been recognized in our legal system for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Marriage has long been a civil as well as a religious relationship. To say that government has no role to play in the establishment and definition of marriage, would have all of us start over with an entirely foreign and untried system of laws, completely different than those presently established. Proponents of same-sex marriage would have us throw away all of these laws, just so they can feel good about their personal choices.

Myth #5:
There are other things more important than marriage and so why don't we just ignore what is happening around us and focus on some other issue?

Reality:
There are few things more important to our society than marriage and the family. If this issue is so unimportant why have hundreds of national and international organizations poured money into Arizona, Florida and California to defeat these proposals?

Myth #6:
Arizona voters are once again being forced to vote on Proposition 102 and voters defeated this measure two years ago.

Reality:
First of all, no one in the United States, including Arizona, is forced to vote. Secondly, Proposition 102 is a new proposition and, in this form, has never been before the voters in Arizona. Equating Proposition 102 with the former Proposition is dishonest.

Myth #7:
Proposition 102 has been proposed by a small group of right-wing extremists.

Reality:
Clearly Proposition 102 is a main stream issue. It is the proponents of same-sex marriage who are the extremists. They are the ones who want to change society to fit their own image and who would impose their value system and their lifestyle choices on the vast majority of Arizona's citizens. This statement is what is known as a "big lie" in propaganda. The opponents of Proposition 102 can't have it both ways, they can't maintain that the Marriage Amendment is religiously motivated and at the same time claim that it is the invention of right-wing extremists. Apparently, the opponents would like to define religious people as right-wing extremists.

Myth #8:
Proposition 102 is a mean-spirited attack on a minority.

Reality:
Everyone is part of some minority. This statement is a thinly veiled attempt to somehow link same-sex marriage to the Civil Rights movement. How can the passage of a law that the opponents claim is entirely unnecessary, be a "mean spirited" attack on anyone, much less a group that defines itself? Those opposing Proposition 102 have initiated a mean spirited attack on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a minority.

Myth#9:
Voting for Proposition 102 will somehow affect the Arizona economy.

Reality:
This is about the limit of irresponsible accusations. The opponents claim that the law is already clear in Arizona and the Marriage Amendment is not needed and, at the same time, really want someone to believe that its passage will affect the economy of our state? 27 states have already passed similar constitutional amendments and only seven jurisdictions, in the entire world, (California, Massachusetts and five foreign nations — Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain) authorize same-sex couples to marry. If this statement were true, we would expect the economies of all of these seven jurisdictions to be booming. Right?

Myth #10:
The passage of Proposition 102 will result in taking away benefits already established under Arizona law.

Reality:
As the California Court noted in its decision, there was and is, in California, virtually no legal difference between a domestic partnership and a married couple. Although Arizona has not chosen to follow California in applying a broad definition of domestic partnership, the laws already in force in Arizona have not resulted in a diminishing any individual rights. It is interesting that the opponents would like you to believe that the law is not needed because it duplicates existing law, while also claiming that passage of Proposition 102 will take away benefits. Those proponents of same-sex marriage want to broaden the benefits and rights. The opponents would like those "rights" to continue to expand at the expense of the majority married couples. This is a hollow argument without substance.