Hull Should Let Herself Go and Do Right Thing
Republic, May 8, 2001
Box 1950, Phoenix, AZ 85001
By E. J. Montini
The bill landed on the governors desk a week ago, and she could have
signed it or vetoed it right then and there. Wham, bam, thank you, maam.
But thats not Jane Dee Hulls style.
She prefers to take her time. Her colleagues in the state Legislature would
rather skip dinner and get right to dessert, if you know what I mean. They
have their desires and want the governor to sign off on them. That might work
with some politicians but not Hull. Youd think theyd know by now shes
not that kind of governor.
She likes to talk things over first. Or at least listen.
And so for the past seven days roughly 2,000 of Hulls closest
constituents have cozied up to her, whispering (and sometimes shouting)
not-so-sweet nothings into her ear concerning House Bill 2016.
The legislation would repeal three sex-related laws that have been on the
books for generations but not enforced. Right now, for example, it is a Class
3 misdemeanor in Arizona to live in a state of "open and notorious
Likewise, its illegal to commit "in any unnatural manner, any lewd
or lascivious act upon or with the body or any part of or member thereof of a
male or female adult, with the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying
the lust, passion or sexual desires of either or such person."
And finally a person is guilty of a misdemeanor if he "knowingly and
without force commits the infamous crime against nature."
We didnt speak of such things in the small, somewhat-repressed
Pennsylvania mill town where I grew up. If anyone had asked us to define
"the infamous crime against nature," we probably would have
answered, "Voting Republican?"
Since moving to Arizona, Ive learned thats not the case.
Republican State Rep. Steve May sponsored HB 2016.
"Its past time to get these archaic ideas off the books," he
said Monday. "Its true theyre not enforced for the most part. But
they are still used in ways to discriminate against gay and lesbian
For instance, he said, a person applying for a job could be asked if he or
she is knowingly violating any existing criminal statute. "If you know
about these laws," May said, "you have to answer yes. That could
keep you from getting work."
According to Hulls press secretary, Francie Noyes, the governor has not
told her staff exactly what she plans to do with HB 2016.
She has until the end of today to sign it, veto it or simply ignore it,
allowing the law to go into effect without her signature. The bill doesnt
deal with adultery, which remains on the books as a crime.
Hull has received more citizen input on this legislation than any issue
this session, Noyes said.
More than tax cuts or education spending or health care.
This infamous crime against common sense has been encouraged by some of the
states most conservative politicians. They want to keep the arcane laws on
the books, enforced or not. Some even want to see the laws expanded.
Hull knows how ridiculous that is and can afford to say so. Term limits
prevent her from running again for governor. Shes got nothing to lose.
Unlike just about every other elected official, she can afford to be bold,
honest and unafraid. She can let herself go and actually do the right thing.
When youre a lame duck, you dont have to worry if voters will still
respect you in the morning.