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.
On 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.