Scottsdale man seeks to overturn gay-marriage ban

2012-11-23T00:00:00Z Scottsdale man seeks to overturn gay-marriage banHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
November 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Buoyed by four victories nationwide, a Scottsdale man has taken the first steps toward asking Arizonans to overturn their ban on gay marriage.

Tanner Pritts has formed Arizona Advocates for Marriage Equality. He also has filed the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office to allow him to start raising money for a 2014 campaign.

Pritts conceded he is a political novice. In fact, the Scottsdale resident said he is just 22.

The initiative drive, if successful, would put the issue back on the ballot just six years after Arizonans voted by a 56-44 margin to define marriage in the state Constitution as solely between one man and one woman.

Pritts said he is heartened by the results of elections elsewhere.

"Obviously, we believe the demographics of the nation are changing," he said. "We feel that Arizona is, too."

This month voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington approved measures specifically providing for same-sex marriage, the kind of measure Pritts said he wants in Arizona. And in Minnesota, voters turned down a bid to enact the kind of ban that exists here.

No one from any of the organizations involved in Arizona's 2008 ballot measure would comment Monday on Pritts' formation of the campaign committee. But campaign consultant Frank Schubert, who ran the losing "traditional marriage" campaigns in all four states, told the Los Angeles Times after this year's election that, despite the results in those four states, there is no national trend.

Anyway, he noted, all four are considered Democratic states.

"The American people continue to view marriage as a union between one man and one woman," he said, saying a nationwide vote would have different results than what occurred in the four states.

That's also the position of the National Organization for Marriage. On the heels of the election two weeks ago, it put out a survey of 800 people nationwide who went to the polls. That survey, the organization said, found 51 percent strongly agree that marriage should be limited to one man and one woman, with another 10 percent saying they somewhat agree.

Pritts conceded that Arizona is not Maine or Washington, but said "We believe we can change how people feel in Arizona," he said.

At this point, Pritts said he is just reaching out to other gay-rights organizations in Arizona in hopes of raising money to put the issue on the 2014 ballot, which would require more than a quarter million valid signatures by July of that year. And no measure has made the ballot in years without the use of paid circulators.

Pritts said he is a registered Republican who voted for Mitt Romney, but he hopes to change the party's view on the issue.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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