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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona can do better than Prop. 107

    Proposition 107 may be one of the hottest items on the Arizona ballot this voting season. The proposition is so controversial, it has created a stir with citizens, politicians and university presidents. It’s been debated on campus in multiple public forums and the topic of petitions, and campaign signs blanket our town. Why? Because Prop. 107 hits close to home.

    Proposition 107, the Protect Marriage Arizona Initiative, would amend the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. But this is not just a gay marriage “”ban”” – that’s only half the story. The issue of gay marriage has already been through Arizona courts: it’s not legal here, and this bill wouldn’t change that. The bill would prohibit state and government employers from recognizing domestic partner unions.

    This prohibition is a distinctly different issue from homosexual unions, and to lump the two together in a bill looks like an effort to pander to hot-button political issues while implementing far more wide-reaching changes.

    If the proposition passes, the UA will be unable to continue to offer benefits to the domestic partners of its employees – whether straight or gay. The UA already has a tough time recruiting top-notch faculty due to obstacles like low salaries, and if the state prohibits the university from recognizing domestic partner benefits, the UA will just be adding to the list.

    If this proposition passes, potential university employees will feel “”unwelcome”” in Arizona, said former President Peter Likins. Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and President Robert Shelton all agree.

    The amendment would also prohibit cities in Arizona from offering domestic partner benefits to employees. The Arizona Republic correctly noted that this would constitute a major “”intrusion on local control.””

    Exactly who would this proposition affect? There are more than 118,000 households in Arizona in which unmarried partners reside together. It’s very possible that the passage of this proposition could negatively affect the children of these couples; in Arizona, dependent children can receive health benefits only through their biological, adoptive or foster parents – if the proposition passes, they would be unable to receive health benefits through the unmarried partner of their parent, jeopardizing coverage for children with uninsured biological parents.

    Additionally, states that have passed similar legislation have found themselves in a murky legal imbroglio relating to the prosecution of domestic assault. In Ohio, where a similar law was passed, a case involving a 29-year-old accused of choking his girlfriend is before the Ohio Supreme Court so justices can decide if the new “”Protect Marriage”” amendment has made the state’s domestic violence laws unconstitutional.

    This proposition isn’t the right choice for Arizona’s future. It will make it harder for our university to attract the best in faculty; cities that have chosen to offer domestic partner benefits – like Tucson, Tempe and Scottsdale – will find themselves in a similar situation. Children’s health benefits could be at risk, as well as the effective prosecution domestic abuse.

    This bill is about way more than the definition of marriage – and Arizona can do better.

    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Nina Conrad, Lori Foley, Ryan Johnson, Ari Lerner, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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