Two Weeks Later
What the results of the midterm elections mean for LGBTQ+ rights in Arizona
With every vote counted from across the state, we finally have a clear picture of the results from this year’s general election. While many predicted the kind of reactionary sweep that would be typical in a midterm, Arizona voters by and large voted for LGBTQ+ rights, bodily autonomy, and democracy. In many cases the margins were extremely slim, and a few races are headed for automatic recounts, but with an LGBTQ+ ally as our governor-elect and the promise of our first out LGBTQ+ attorney general, this is a historic win. Notably however, staunch ally Kathy Hoffman — who was instrumental in the repeal of Arizona’s “no promo homo” law — lost her bid for reelection and will be replaced by Tom Horne. In his campaign and over the course of his career, he has advocated for less access to information about minority groups in public schools, and his victory is concerning in the context of the growing anti-LGBTQ+ movement at the school board level.
Before we go any further, it’s important to stop and recognize the tragic act of violence perpetrated against the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance. As the community mourns, we can support the people directly affected by the shooting with a donation to the Colorado Healing Fund. You can also support advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community with a donation to One Colorado, our partner organization in the state.
Looking Ahead to the Legislative Session
With an LGBTQ+ ally in the Governor’s office for the 2023 legislative session, a lot changes. As a candidate, Katie Hobbs signed onto a policy platform we published that included protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination, reducing barriers to gender-affirming care and legal services for trans people, and repealing the anti-trans laws passed this year (SB 1138 and SB 1165).
In the legislature, we’ll have the same partisan margins as in 2022, with a 16-14 Republican majority in the state senate and a 31-29 Republican majority in the state house. This makes bipartisan work simpler, and afforded us critical opportunities to shut down many of the anti-LGBTQ bills proposed this year. With Hobbs’ veto power, it’s likely that strictly anti-LGBTQ legislation will be dead on arrival in 2023, but to accomplish proactive policy work, we’ll need to find allies in both parties. As an organization and as a community, we think some areas we can be particularly effective will be kids’ rights, reproductive justice, housing, decarceration, and disability rights.
The Respect for Marriage Act
In response to concerns prompted by Dobbs that the Supreme Court could overturn its decisions in Obergefell and Loving, a group of lawmakers have moved to enact Federal law to protect marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples. The initial version has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and with a set of amendments devised by Senator Sinema and others, has cleared the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. What the Respect for Marriage Act is designed to do is to repeal DOMA and require states to recognize any marriage that was legally valid when entered into (whether in another state or under prior laws in the same state). Unlike Obergefell, it doesn’t establish a fundamental right to marriage for same-sex couples.
In Arizona, what the Respect for Marriage Act would mean in the event that the Supreme Court reneges on the promise of Obergefell is that the state would be required to continue to recognize any existing marriages, and that couples with enough material resources to travel out of state could simply obtain a marriage license in California and bring that home. However, because of a trigger ban in the Arizona Constitution (Article 30, established by Prop 102), it would become impossible for same-sex couples in Arizona to be married in their home state.
Programming Note: because of the holiday this week, we’re taking a break from the Arizona Equals Conversation. Our next episode will publish on Wednesday, November 30!