It’s mostly just a gleam in the Arizona Secretary of State’s database, but a new group called Arizona Advocates for Marriage Equality has formed to pursue same-sex marriage in that red state. The founder, Tanner Pritts, 22, tells us the idea is to get a referendum on the ballot in 2014:
We cherish and value every facet of love and are discouraged by the fact that Arizona government is turning their backs on not just same-sex couples, but love itself. My team and I are working around the clock to spread the message about equality. We have contacted local newspapers and news stations, colleges and universities such as Arizona State and University of Arizona, and even LGBT organizations such as Sedona Pride and Phoenix Pride. I have recently conducted interviews with reporters from the Associated Press and Capitol Media Services. We understand that we face an uphill battle in the fight for equality here in Arizona, but you will not find any other individuals who are more dedicated and passionate about this issue than me and my team.
Pritts might have the numbers on his side. In May, Public Policy Polling found that 77 percent of Arizonans support either marriage or civil unions, including 63 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Hispanics.
After Maine, Maryland and Washington passed ballot measures for marriage equality this month, activists have said they’re looking at Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon and Hawaii. Those are all blue states. So far as I know, Arizona Advocates for Marriage Equality would be the first new effort in a red state. They’ll need a quarter-million signatures.
You could say Tanner Pritts is a blue dot in a red sea, but not the reddest. Arizona is sending five Democrats to Congress, out of a nine-member delegation, and in 2006, the state narrowly defeated an anti-gay amendment. The state later banned same-sex marriage with an amendment in 2010.