Parent Power in Arizona: OUTSpoken Ally Speaks Out on Marriage Amendment

Family Equality Council staff traveled to Phoenix and Tuscon,
Arizona in June to conduct two OUTSpoken trainings. Leading up to the trainings,
Arizonans worked tirelessly to keep state legislators from putting
an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot this November.

To date, Arizona is the only state to have turned back a marriage
amendment ballot vote, back in 2006. Conservative legislators hope
to make marriage a wedge issue again in the state this year. On
Friday, June 27, just after arriving in Phoenix, we found out that
the legislature had voted to put the amendment on the ballot,
adding extra urgency to our OUTSpoken work over the next two

Lucy Silva-Stump, a straight ally Arizonan who attended the Tuscon
training, submitted this story to us about her experience becoming

I was excited to attend the OUTspoken training here in
Tucson, Arizona recently and wondered when my first opportunity to
speak out might come. Well, our Arizona legislature provided the
inspiration when — on its last day of session — they voted to put
on our November ballot a Constitutional amendment to define
marriage. My husband and I have now submitted an “Argument” which
will appear in the elections material mailed to each registered
voter with the ballot information.

It is beyond our understanding why Arizona lawmakers are attempting
to rewrite our Constitution to discriminate against a group of its
own citizens. The Constitution guarantees civil rights to ALL
citizens, yet this amendment would mean that only particular
citizens in specifically defined families would be entitled to the
rights and protections of married couples. These denied rights mean
that parents and children in other families suffer the
consequences. Some of the rights afforded married couples include
the right to hospital visitation, to share a family health plan and
to take medical leave for a sick family member. Marriage means that
both spouse’s incomes are taken into account in matters of taxes,
credit, loans, and inheritance. And children benefit from parents
being treated fairly in divorce settlements and child custody and
visitation proceedings. All of these rights are automatically
granted to us as a heterosexual, married couple, and we believe it
is morally wrong to deny these same protections and
responsibilities to other family members and citizens of the State
of Arizona. We were proud when Arizona became the first state to
defeat a similar proposition defining marriage and excluding
couples and families in the past. We believe it is important for
all of us to stand up and be heard on this important civil rights
issue. These are OUR families we are affirming, and OUR marriages
we are protecting, by ensuring we ALL have access to the same
rights and responsibilities under our Constitution. We urge you to
VOTE NO on this amendment to the Arizona Constitution.