Before anyone sings the praises of Governor Ducey . . .

The media villagers have decided that we are all supposed to sing the praises of Governor Doug Ducey for ordering the Department of Child Safety to reverse a policy that blocked legally married same-sex couples from jointly adopting or being foster parents, a policy adopted in February on the legal advice of Attorney General Mark Brnovich that somehow escaped the Governor’s attention until now. Good on Ducey for putting kids before politics.

So are we supposed to praise Gov. Ducey “for going against his party” like the editors of The Republic say, or for doing what any fair-minded decent human being would have done? If a liberal or progressive does this it is to be expected.  But if a Tea-Publican does this, we are supposed to throw him a celebratory parade because he went against the mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging neanderthals of the far-right in the GOP?

Why does simply doing the right thing merit such praise? Shouldn’t this be what is expected from our elected leaders?

Before I am ready to praise Gov. Ducey for his “enlightened” views on adoption, there are three related matters about to become hot button issues between now and the end of June on which Gov. Ducey can take a position to demonstrate just how “enlightened” he is by going against his party and Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy.

SSmarriage-300x185On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the same-sex marriage appeals from the Sixth Circuit. It is widely believed, though not a certainty, that the Court will recognize a constitutional right to same-sex marriage under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and states will be required to recognize the lawful same-sex marriages entered into in other states under the full faith and credit clause, Article IV, Section 1, of the Constitution.

This anticipated ruling will affect only the right of marriage, and rights attendant to marriage. It does not give gays legal protections in employment, public accommodations, and housing as a protected class under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, nor the Arizona Civil Rights Act.

The response to the anticipated Supreme Court decision from the far-right will be a renewed demand for so-called “religious liberty” bills aka a licence to discriminate that recently roiled Indiana and Arkansas, and put Arizona in a negative national spotlight last year with SB 1062. Rest assured that Cathi Herrod and the CAP are coming back with a renewed version of SB 1062 in the next legislative session.

So, Governor Ducey, if you really want to demonstrate just how “enlightened” or ‘”evolved” you are on these hot button issues, here are three things you can announce your support of in coming weeks in going against your party:

Remove the artifact of State Sanctioned Discrimination from the Arizona Constitution

The federal courts have struck down Article 30 of the Arizona Constitution, approved by voters as Proposition 102 (2008), amending the Arizona Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman only. Same-sex marriage is now a reality in Arizona.

But this artifact of state sanctioned discrimination should be repealed and removed from the Arizona Constitution, much in the same way that former slave states repealed constitutional provisions for slavery and Jim Crow laws in state constitutions.

Amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act

Amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act (ACRA) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in employment, public accommodations, and housing in the same manner as other protected classes currently covered under the ACA. This provides broader coverage than the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

This bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature every year since the mid-1990s, and has gone nowhere — despite the fact that most Arizonans believe, wrongly, that such anti-discrimination protections already exist. Do the right thing, Governor.

Oppose Any “Religious Liberty” Bill aka The New SB 1062

Promise to veto any so-called “religious liberty” bill aka a license to discriminate if the legislature passes it, like it did SB 1062, and it reaches your desk. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, and the business community was near-unanimous in its opposition to the bill. This should be a no-brainer for you, Governor.

By the way, Arizona already has a state companion statute to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Ariz. Rev. Stat. §41-1493.01, that has worked well as originally intended, and it should not be expanded into a license to discriminate.

Do these three things, Governor, and I will be happy to give you credit where credit is due. Right now, it is a bit premature.

4 responses to “Before anyone sings the praises of Governor Ducey . . .

  1. Here’s guessing he didn’t use his speech at Cathi Herrod’s fundraising gala this past Saturday night to say he planned to “go against” her.

    http://www.azpolicy.org/familydinner

  2. Donna Gratehouse

    It should tell you something about the people you vote for if you think that they should be lavished with praise like they are good doggies who haven’t soiled the rug whenever they do something decent. I never found it necessary to call Governor Napolitano’s office and thank her for doing the right thing because I just expected her to do it the majority of the time.

  3. You are quick to criticize Governor Ducey when does something you don’t like, so why is it so hard to give him a pat on the back when he does something you like? There is no damage to your reputation if you do. In fact, I think it adds to your credibility if you are fair.

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      So is this the reason why Gov. Ducey did this, to get some praise from Democrats and the media for doing the right thing, after being vilified for months for all of the bad things that he has done? He wanted an “attaboy”?

      I would point out that the number of gay couples applying to be foster care parents you can probably count on your fingers and have a few left over.

      We are talking about a very small universe here. This is low risk. There is a much larger universe of people affected by discrimination in employment and public accommodations.

      Doug Ducey, whose close campaign adviser is Cathi Herrod from the CAP, the sponsor of SB 1062, was slow to criticize the bill and only after the Chamber business groups came out four-square against it. Ducey said “The religious liberty issues that SB 1062 attempts to address are legitimate ones, and I believe there is a way to draft language that would address the concerns of everyone involved and avoid the acrimony and notoriety that have accompanied this bill’s passage.” That’s almost exactly what Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said after signing that state’s so-called religious liberty bill before he was forced to send it back to the legislature for revisions after a national firestorm of opposition, just like occurred here in Arizona.

      Cathi Herrod has said she is coming back with a new “religious liberty” bill in the next legislative session, after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage in June.

      What will Gov. Ducey do? Will he support Cathi Herrod on her license to discriminate bill, or will he support the expansion of the Arizona Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against gays, as the business community wants? There is a real division between the GOP’s Chamber business wing and its Religious Right wing on this issue.

      On June 30, 2014, Ducey tweeted: “Today’s #SCOTUS decision [in Hobby Lobby] is a win for religious freedom and yet another blow to #Obamacare.” Cathi Herrod, the architect of SB 1062 and a Ducey adviser, was the first to point out that the proposed state law and the federal case are “the exact same thing” in principle.

      Ducey’s handling of gay foster parents is not at all an indication of where he stands on these contentious issues that are about to heat up in coming weeks. He has been less than transparent on where he stands on these issues.