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Arizona Gay Marriage Initiative Goes Dormant

Tuesday Sep 3, 2013
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An initiative campaign to have Arizona voters decide next year whether to legalize gay marriage is faltering amid reluctance by national and local advocacy groups to back the measure.

Volunteers continue to collect signatures but paid signature gatherers have been pulled from the street and a scheduled volunteer training event wasn’t held.

"We’re in a period of kind of continued dormancy. The dormancy has gone on for a few weeks as we have been in negotiation with the local LGBT groups," campaign co-chair Erin Ogletree Simpson said.

"We need the backing and support of all of the organizations that have been working on these matters to go forward . We need their support," Simpson said.

However, advocacy groups say the timing isn’t right because the measure would go on the ballot when turnout for a midterm election would be comparatively low compared with a presidential election year, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Sheila Kloefkorn, an Arizonan who serves as a national board member of the Human Rights Campaign, said that group won’t support the initiative.

There is increased support in Arizona for gay marriage but not enough to win in 2014, Kloefkorn said. "We will not (support the campaign) and I don’t know of any organization that would at this point."

Supporters of the initiative measure would need to submit petitions with 259,213 voter signatures by July 3 to qualify it for the 2014 ballot.

The proposed ballot measure, titled the "Equal Marriage Arizona Initiative," would define marriage as a union of two people, as opposed to the current requirement of one man and one woman.

Approval of the initiative would overturn a ban approved by voters in 2008 as an amendment to the Arizona Constitution.

Two years earlier, Arizona voters narrowly rejected a broader proposal that also would have prohibited the state and its local governments from creating or recognizing any legal status for unmarried persons that was similar to that of marriage.

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