Issues and Intolerance of Sexual Minorities in Arizona

Topics: Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, Arizona Pages: 5 (1631 words) Published: November 24, 2002

Gays and lesbians are discriminated against and oppressed by archaic "sex laws" used by the conservative Arizona government. Some statutes include the restriction of same-sex marriage, and no monetary or federal benefits for domestic partners of homosexuals who work for a government agency.

Section 38-656 of the Arizona Revised Statutes reads "A country, city, town, or other political subdivision of this state shall not offer health and accident coverage for domestic partners of its employees unless that coverage is approved by a vote of the people in that city, county, town, or other political subdivision… ‘domestic partners' means any nonmarried cohabitating persons except parents and their children"(Arizona Revised Statutes). In other words, unmarried partners in dedicated homosexual as well as heterosexual relationships cannot receive the benefits and coverage that are now necessary for modern living. Both Maricopa and Pima counties voted to give benefits to domestic partners; the other 13 counties in Arizona are still using this law (

HB 106, introduced by Republican Rep. Jeff Grocost, specified that marriage between two people of the same sex is "illegal", and refused to recognize lawful marriages performed in other states. Initially blocked by substitution of general "family values" language instead of anti-marriage stipulation, the bill was revived through manipulation of the rules and passed through the House of Representatives. The Senate passed the bill as SB1038, and was signed by Governor Symington on May 5th, 1996 (

Other laws that have been formerly used for the purpose of anti-gay discrimination were 13-1411 and 13-1412, both of which were very recently repealed. 13-1411 was the "notorious crime against nature" law, which punished homosexual relations with a class 3 misdemeanor. In the notes following the statute, the state declared: "Sexual activity between two consenting adults in private is not a matter of concern for the state except insofar as the legislature has acted to properly regulate the moral welfare of its people…" (Arizona Revised Statutes). Basically the state chose to prohibit homosexual conduct to specifically regulate citizens' morality and punish their choices, even if it was between two consenting adults. While the law states, "consent is not a defense to either sodomy or lewd & lascivious conduct", the jury of State v. Bateman was instructed that consent was a defense in married heterosexual relations of the like. However, the conviction was upheld (Az. Rev. Statutes). One of the first legal consequences of the Supreme Court's upholding the constitutionality of sodomy laws, in "Bowers v. Hardwick" (Case 106 S. Ct. 1986), was that the Arizona Court of Appeals, citing "Bowers", held that the state's sodomy law justified the blocking of a bisexual man from adopting an elementary-school child, because possible past, present, or future violations of the law made him a corrupt and "immoral" role model and more: "It would be anomalous for the state on the one hand to declare homosexual conduct unlawful and on the other create a parent after that proscribed model, in effect proving that standard, inimical to the natural family, as head of a state-created family" (Mohr 204).

In section 13-1412, Lewd and Lascivious Acts, it is stated that "A person who knowingly and without force commits, in any unnatural manner, any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body or any part 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 such persons, is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor…a state may prohibit nonconsensual sexual conduct, and it may also regulate other sexual misconduct in its rightful concern for the moral welfare of its People" (Arizona Revised Statutes). This law...

Arizona Revised Statutes- annotated #5B; Section 13-1400
Mohr, Richard. Gays/Justice: a study of ethics, society, and law: 1988
"Morality." Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary. 1984 ed.
Wiederanders, Tim. "Editorial." Daily Courier 1 May 2001:2
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