Arizona Senate Passes Rights Bills
May 1, 2001
Mark Kerr, Tucson Weekly Observer
SUMMARY: Arizonas Senate moved the state closer to revoking its sodomy
laws and prohibiting discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transsexuals
in state employment.
The Arizona Senate has approved two pro-gay pieces of legislation, but
neither one is yet guaranteed to become law.
On Monday Senators voted 18-11 to repeal Arizonas 100-year-old
"archaic laws" that make cohabitation, sodomy and any non-procreational
sex acts illegal. Sponsored by openly gay state Rep. Steve May, R-Paradise
Valley, the bill would also allow unmarried couples to take tax deductions for
"Lawmakers have finally recognized the inappropriateness of the
government regulating behavior between consenting adults," said Kathie
Gummerie, co-chair of the Arizona Human Rights Fund, the statewide GLBT rights
The bill, which was already approved by the House, now goes to Gov. Jane
Hulls desk to await action, but a spokeswoman for Hull said the governor
has not decided how to proceed. "The governor keeps her own counsel on
these things, and she hasnt told anybody yet what she plans to do,"
she said, noting that Hull has received more calls about this bill than any
other issue in this session.
Hull has five working days to consider action on the bill, which she could
veto, sign, or allow to pass into law without her signature.
Arizonas Senate also approved the Arizona Employment Non-Discrimination
Act (ENDA) by a 16-13 vote. Sponsored by Sen. Elaine Richardson, D-Tucson,
Arizona ENDA would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity in government employment.
Kathie Gummerie said, "GLBT Arizonans should be thrilled that the
Senate has recognized all government employees should have equal rights and
hopes the Arizona House will follow suit."
The bill now goes back to the Arizona House, which earlier approved a
different version of the bill, for a final vote on Thursday, May 3. If
approved, the legislation will go to the governors desk to await action.
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