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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Citizens demand equal rights

    Tucsonans listen to speakers at the Rally for Love and Justice sponsored by Wingspan and Arizona Together. The rally was held in El Presidio Park yesterday to celebrate love and families, and express opposition to the Marriage Amendment that may appear on the November election ballot.
    Tucsonans listen to speakers at the ‘Rally for Love and Justice’ sponsored by Wingspan and Arizona Together. The rally was held in El Presidio Park yesterday to celebrate love and families, and express opposition to the ‘Marriage Amendment’ that may appear on the November election ballot.

    About 250 people from the Tucson and UA communities joined together downtown yesterday afternoon to protest an amendment that would change the Arizona Constitution.

    The “”Rally for Love and Justice,”” sponsored by Wingspan and Arizona Together, was held at El Presidio Park in honor of the second anniversary of the San Francisco marriages to celebrate love, family and community in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and also to express opposition to the “”Marriage Amendment,”” which could be on the ballot in the November general election.

    The proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution would take away benefits for domestic partners of workers, both heterosexual and homosexual, and remove the rights of domestic partners to make emergency medical decisions regarding their partners’ health, obtain health-care coverage for partners and children, receive insurance and tax breaks for couples, receive tax credit for low-income families and get family discounts at park and recreational facilities, according to literature from Arizona Together.

    Tammie Kennedy, a UA English instructor, said she was there to be with people experiencing the same struggle she and her partner are.

    “”It’s just another way to discriminate,”” Kennedy said. “”Whatever you call it, it’s about people trying to have the same rights. When you’re in love with someone, you’re in love with them.””

    Scott Kroken, a UA plant sciences professor, said the amendment is a matter of economics, and government and businesses don’t want to pay out benefits if they don’t have to.

    “”Fairness is not always cheap, but it’s the right thing to do,”” Kroken said. “”I fear that the people proposing the amendment aren’t even genuine in their belief that it’s wrong to give these benefits, which are clearly good for families and children.””

    Many came to give their support for Arizona Together, a coalition of civil and human rights organizations that are educating people about the proposed amendment and the harm it could cause to Arizona families, said Les Pierce, a volunteer with Arizona Together.

    Arizona Together is trying to reach out to the UA community and is working with groups like Outreach and Associated Students of the University of Arizona Pride Alliance to do that, Pierce said.

    “”It’s important for new registered voters to get involved in these political issues,”” Pierce said. “”We’re trying to get more voters active in general. This has lasting consequences for all Arizona families.””

    Other people are concerned that if the amendment passes, it will be difficult to overturn in the future, said Deb Risinger, an Arizona Together volunteer.

    “”If this passes, it will affect people for years,”” Risinger said. “”Even if they don’t care about it now, it can affect them years in the future, and will be very difficult to undo.””

    Arizona currently has a law that bans gay marriages – Title 25 of the Arizona Revised Statutes – so the proposed amendment would not change existing law, but would keep unmarried couples of any sexual orientation from obtaining legal recognition.

    Arizona is one of 38 states that has a “”Defense of Marriage Act,”” which limits marriage to one man and one woman.

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