AZ Same-Sex Marriage Vote Likely On Hold Until 2016

Sep 10, 2013

Facing a splintered gay-rights community, supporters of legalizing same-sex marriage in the state have pulled the plug on putting the issue to voters next year. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

Erin Simpson and Warren Meyer discuss proposal to allow same-sex marriage in AZ.
Credit Capitol Media Services/Howard Fischer

The ballot measure announced earlier this year would have repealed what voters adopted in 2008 declaring marriage in this state solely between one man and one woman.

Erin Simpson, one of the organizers, said she believed a broad-based coalition including Republicans and Libertarians might provide the right mix to gather the necessary votes. But, Simpson said the plan ran into unexpected problems. "As we reached out to the various LGBT advocacy organizations in the Phoenix area primarily which had ties to national organizations," Simpson said, "the response that we received was quite negative."

Simpson said the concern expressed was that 2014 is not a good year to take the issue to voters. Instead, they prefer a 2016 vote, not only to give them more time to organize but because of what is likely to be a larger - and perhaps more sympathetic - turnout in a presidential election year.

But, Simpson said she thinks there may be more to it than that. "It was more an issue, I believe, of a need to control the message and to be seen as the group that brings equal marriage to Arizona," she said.

The delay could come at a price: A law set to take effect Friday imposes new procedural burdens on future initiative drives.