Let No Man Tear Asunder: Arizona’s New Debate on Gay Marriage

Kelly Frieders is a Christian, a registered Republican and a straight, married mother of 10-year-old triplets. On paper, Frieders should be a supporter of state Sen. Tim Bee’s run for the U.S. House against Democratic incumbent Gabrielle Giffords.

Instead, Frieders is angry at Bee, because of his efforts to get Proposition 102 on the ballot, a legislature-produced measure sponsored by Bee to constitutionally define marriage in Arizona as legally being between one man and one woman.

Frieders says she doesn’t agree with supporters of Prop 102, who want to make the proposed amendment a religious issue.

“I’m really disappointed. I’m really upset with the direction the Republican Party has gone. I’m a Republican because I believe in less government and being financially conservative. Seems to me Prop 102 is about more government, not less,” Frieders says.

Frieders and others against Prop 102 are also upset that Bee and Continue reading

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Now With Added Prop Power

ScrambleWatch is excited to announce that we’ve added summaries of the ballot props.

Want to hike the sales tax to pay for more highways and a brand-new rail to Phoenix? Do you fear that unless we make gay marriage even more illegal in Arizona, we are hastening the destruction of our families and, eventually, our civilization? Are you worried about saving the endangered species known as the payday-loan shark? Would you like to see Arizona preserve some of that pristine state trust land?

These are among the questions you’ll decide when you go to the ballot in November. Barring legal problems or an act of God, it appears that you’ll make the call on 11 statewide ballot props (along with any local questions that school districts or other local jurisdictions toss your way). Nine of them are initiatives, which means that somebody paid to have people gather signatures to put the prop on the ballot; one of them, a constitutional ban on gay marriage, was put on the ballot by the Arizona Legislature; and the last one, a $6K raise for state lawmakers, just got approval today. Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services has the details.

We’ll be reporting on these measures in more detail in the months to come, but in the meantime, ScrambleWatch has put together capsule descriptions of each of the measures.

The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act

Protect Our Homes

Majority Rules: Let the People Decide

Conserving Arizona’s Water and Land

Arizona Civil Rights Initiative

Stop Illegal Hiring

Payday Loan Reform Act

T.I.M.E. Initiative

Homeowners’ Bill of Rights

Gay Marriage Ban

Kolbe Breaks Up With Bee

Congrats to Sierra Vista Herald reporter Bill Hess for breaking the story of how Republican Jim Kolbe has announced he’ll no longer campaign for Arizona Sen. Tim Bee in his effort to unseat Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Hess writes:

Retired Congressman Jim Kolbe has ended his support of Tim Bee’s congressional campaign.

“I will not be actively campaigning for Bee,” the former Republican congressman said during a telephone interview with the Herald/Review on Thursday.

Kolbe, whose district included Cochise County and whose seat in Congress is now held by Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, hosted a fundraiser recently for fellow Republican Bee at his Washington, D.C., home.

Tom Dunn, a spokesman for the Bee campaign, also confirmed Kolbe’s decision.

“For personal reasons, Mr. Kolbe is no longer associated with our campaign,” Dunn said.

Neither Kolbe nor Dunn provided specific reasons for the former congressman dropping out of campaigning for Bee.

The retired congressman was adamant during the interview with the Herald/Review in refusing to say why he was severing his ties with the Bee campaign.

Tedski seems to think it has something to the gay marriage amendment.

Hershberger Vs. Melvin: A Slightly Delayed Liveblog

As we’ve mentioned before, Legislative District 26, where Republicans Pete Hershberger and Al Melvin are fighting for a Senate seat in the Sept. 2 primary, is in the ScrambleWatch spotlight. The two candidates squared off in a Clean Elections debate last night.

Although the district leans Republican, Democrat Charlene Pesquiera won LD26 in 2006 by fewer than 500 votes over Melvin. Melvin had ousted Sen. Toni Hellon in the GOP primary two month earlier with a campaign that accused her of being too liberal; he hopes to give Hershberger the same treatment this year.

Hershberger counters that he’s in step with the voters of the district, which stretches from Saddlebrooke through Oro Valley and across the Catalina Foothills. Hershberger has represented LD26 in the House of Representatives for eight years. He argues that Melvin can’t win a general election in the district.

Here’s a slightly delayed liveblog of key debate moments:

7:05 p.m.: Moderator David Bartlett skips the standard introductory question that lets candidates talk about who they are and jumps right into the issue of illegal immigration by asking whether the candidates support Arizona’s employer sanctions law.

Melvin says securing the border is the first step in his five-point plan to improve Arizona. “We need to enforce all of our existing laws and when we do that, we will get control of the illegal immigrant situation and and we’ll start to save the $2 billion a year that it’s costing Arizona taxpayers.”

Hershberger says he supports “the toughest employer sanctions bill in the country” and calls for more border security and some kind of guest-worker program. “We will continue to work on this issue,” he promises.

7:09 p.m.: Hershberger cites this year’s budget as an example of legislative success because it bridged a shortfall of more than $2 billion. “We did in a bipartisan way,” Hershberger says. “We did a combination of things to pass a budget that’s still going to maintain a vision for Arizona.”

He laments that the Legislature still deals with too many “contentious issues that distract us from the business at hand and I wish that we could get beyond that.”

7:10 p.m.: Melvin takes his first direct shot at Hershberger. “I have to disagree with my opponent,” he salvoes. “In the eight years that he’s been in the House, we’ve had bloated budgets and not enough tax cuts.”

Melvin points out that only four Republicans in the House and four Republicans in the Senate voted for this year’s budget. “They passed a Democratic budget and it’s a crying shame and it’s not the first time it’s happened.”

Melvin also zings Hershberger for opposing the permanent repeal of the state’s property tax, which raises $250 million a year. “When I get to Phoenix, I will not raise taxes. I’ll cut them and I promise that I will,” he vows.

7:13 p.m.: Melvin lays out his five-point program for Arizona: securing Continue reading