By Peter J. Smith
PHEONIX, Arizona, August 11, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Arizona Superior Court judge has ruled that a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage and banning marriage-like equivalents does not violate the constitution and may be included on the ballot for Arizona’s general election on November 7.
Judge Douglas Rayes of the Maricopa County Superior Court ruled Thursday against the opponents of the “Protect Marriage Arizona” initiative, or Proposition 107, rejecting their arguments that the measure violates a constitutional requirement thatÂsays a constitutional amendment must address onlyÂa single subject.
The marriage amendment is structured to define marriage as between one man and one woman and also prohibits any leeway for judges and lawmakers to create “marriage imitations” for unwed opposite-sex or same-sex couples.
Arizona Together, a group opposed to the amendment, argued that the two clauses in Proposition 107 constitute two subjects and therefore violate the Arizona State Constitution which requires constitutional amendments to consist of a single subject.
However, Judge Rayes found that the amendment did not violate the single subject rule, since the parts of the amendment merely reinforce marriage by prohibiting legal recognition of pseudo-marriage arrangements.
“The two clauses of the proposed amendment have but one purpose, the protection of marriage by preventing redefinition and extension of official status to marriage substitutes,” the judge wrote.
“The judge understood that this amendment is a clear, straightforward proposition with one purpose: protecting marriage,” said Alliance Defend Fund attorney Glen Lavy in a press statement. The ADF and the Center for Arizona Policy are representing “Protect Marriage Arizona” in legal challenges .
Lavy described the court action by Arizona Together as “just another desperate attempt to evade the democratic process by those who advocate redefining marriage.
“Every time this issue has been presented to the voters, it has passed overwhelmingly, by an average of 70 percent”, Lavy continued. “We are confident that we will see a similar result in Arizona, and we are prepared to defend any appeal of today’s decision.”
Arizona Together attorney Charles Blanchard filed an appeal Thursday with the Arizona Supreme Court, claiming that Rayes has misinterpreted the law.
“They’re taking a very popular ban on same-sex marriage and trying to get a home run that the public doesn’t want,” said Blanchard. “The public does not want to ban domestic-partner benefits.”
Supporters of Protect Marriage Arizona have collected over 307,000 signatures, far exceeding the 184,000 required signatures to place the amendment on the ballot. The Secretary of State’s Office has yet to validate the signatures.