The text reads:
TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT MARRIAGE IN THIS STATE, ONLY A UNION BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SHALL BE VALID OR RECOGNIZED AS A MARRIAGE BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND NO LEGAL STATUS FOR UNMARRIED PERSONS SHALL BE CREATED OR RECOGNIZED BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS THAT IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF MARRIAGE.
The second part, of course, is the kicker, inserted specifically to roll back those partner benefits and force Pima County, the City of Tucson, the City of Flagstaff, the University of Arizona, and other government agencies to rescind health insurance and family leave for folks like us. It's the mean-spirited final gob of spit to the face. No marriage, no civil unions, no benefits extended to a county worker's partner or their kids.
Lest anyone think marriage or civil unions are no big deal, that we should just cough up a couple thousand bucks, hire a lawyer, and draw up all the legal documents we will ever need, here's a little dose of reality. State-recognized marriage in this country confers 1,138 rights and responsibilities upon the couple. All the legal documents in the world won't mean shit if you find yourself in a state whose constitution explicitly forbids the recognition of same-sex relationships intended to approximate marriage. There are already hundreds of anecdotes out there about what happens when a gay couple's best intentions run afoul of some asshat who's more interested in validating his own narrow worldview by going by the book than in being a decent human being during someone's time of need. Read these for the barest glimmer of our worst nightmares come true.
Now let us run down some of the organizations supporting the Arizona legislation. The Center for Arizona Policy has supported a full roster of marriage-related legislation in Arizona, including the original gay marriage ban in 1996. They cite the support of Daddy Dobson, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, and Arizona Families for Home Education. Not surprisingly, they do battle with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU on a regular basis. Their front-page support for 107 is limited to calls for help with circulating petitions and joining in the 40-day-prayer cycle for the November elections, but links are provided to "issue briefs." Several of these are devoted to homosexuality; the "Civil Unions and Gay Marriage" brief focus on activist judges, "marriage counterfeits" (civil unions are actually intended to undermine authentic marriages), and the fact that state recognition of civil unions is nothing more than ammunition for lawsuits designed to redefine and destroy marriage once and for all.
The Protect Marriage Arizona website is decorated with photos of happy young heterosexual couples (see, they even threw in one of a white woman and a Latino man, to show how progressive they are!). Their talking points recycle--surprise!--the same tired rhetoric about activist judges and the necessity of both a mother and a father if kids are to have any chance of turning out normal, along with a giddy dose of what-will-they-allow-next hysteria, although, perhaps to their credit, they stop at polygamy and don't trot out the usual references to bestiality. These points have been refuted a thousand times over, and doing so again here would take me into the wee hours of the morning.
The argument against these people, for me, quite simply crystallizes around the notion that when perfect (and perfectly drunk) strangers can get married on a whim in Vegas, automatically accruing all 1,138 of those federal rights and responsibilities for the price of a xeroxed license and a cab ride, only to nullify the whole thing the next morning after the hangover subsides to a dull roar, rinse, repeat, as often as desired, there is little left of the institution of marriage to "protect." Believe in the sanctity of marriage? Then don't screw around, don't get divorced. Don't believe in gay marriage? Then don't marry someone of your same gender.
We are still going to find each other and fall in love (and even become a "couple," as scare-quoted by the PMA people; see the first question in the FAQ). We're going to buy houses together, raise kids together, go through everyday crises together. We will pay taxes into a Social Security system that refuses to recognize us when we are bereaved. We will raise children despite the state refusing to acknowledge our parental rights. We'll get up in the morning, go to work, come home, make dinner, and go to sleep, in order to get up in the morning and do it all over again.
In short, we're just like everybody else. Except that everybody else can go about their business without having to cart medical power of attorney papers around on vacation and then wonder if the emergency room in the middle of Kansas will pay attention to them. Everybody else can buy a house with the spouse without worrying that it will go into probate if one of them dies. Everybody else with a good pension can be confident that their spouses will inherit it tax-free. And everybody else can sleep well at night without having to worry that a hateful in-law will have sole legal claim to the child they've raised from birth, should their spouse die.
Read the posts from Republic of T listed above, and then come up with a coherent argument supporting the idea that any of those relationships somehow threaten the social fabric of our country. That they're somehow abominations not entitled to the same dignity and protections as the marriages of our straight neighbors and friends. That the extra dollop of agony those people suffered is somehow justified in the name of Jesus.
Tomorrow, links to the opposition.