Bisbee's Proposed Civil-Union Ordinance for Same-Sex Couples Draws Threat From Tom Horne, State AG

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Image: Ray Stern
Tom Horne, state Attorney General, says he'll sue in federal court to stop Bisbee from enacting an ordinance that grants marital rights to same-sex couples.
State Attorney General Tom Horne says he'll file a federal action to halt a Bisbee ordinance legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples if the City Council approves it tonight.

The proposed ordinance (see full text below) would grant same-sex couples who enter into an official civil union the same legal benefits as married couples. The council passed the measure unanimously during a first reading last month.

See also: Should Arizona Adopt Bisbee's Pending Civil-Union Ordinance for Same-Sex Couples?


A clerk at Bisbee Mayor Adriana Badal's office tells us that it's going to be a long night at City Hall. The regular council meetings begins at 7 p.m., and other business is on the agenda besides the civil-union proposal. Though last month's action didn't attract much criticism, things are different now because of all the recent media attention, the clerk says. The names of people wanting to speak at the meeting goes on for three pages.

Horne sent a letter to the mayor and council today warning that he'd received complaints about the proposal from Bisbee's three state legislators, and that he's prepared to take legal action to stop it.

The lawmakers -- Representatives David Gowan Sr. and David Stevens, and Senator Gail Griffin -- are all Republicans, as is Horne.

Horne claims that he's "not expressing any opinion on the policy of the ordinance. My job is to enforce the laws that exist, and I am obligated to respond to complaints from state legislators."

That may or may not be true, from our humble point of view. After all, Horne could conceivably tell the state legislators that he'll review their complaint, then do nothing -- if that's what he wanted to do.

But Horne says the proposed ordinance is clearly out of the small city's league. Horne's letter to the city says:

The ordinance seeks to change seven separate State statutes within the boundaries of the city, dealing with issues such as community property, inheritance of property, and appointment of personal representatives. The only proper way to change a statute is through the Legislature, not through actions of the City Council attempting to change a State statute within its boundaries.


Horne, with Governor Jan Brewer, also tried to block the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act -- which he said also was unconstitutional -- by filing a federal complaint. But the attempt ended in failure, and not without some embarrassment for Horne's office following a federal judge's rebuke.

Full text of the ordinance follows:

ORDINANCE 0-13-05

AN ORDINANCE OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BISBEE,

COUNTY OF COCHISE, STATE OF ARIZONA, AMENDING THE CITY CODE

BY ADDING ARTICLE 17, BISBEE CIVIL UNIONS, AND PROVIDING FOR

REPEAL AND SEVERABILITY

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council of the City of Bisbee support the right of
every person to enter into a lasting and meaningful relationship with the partner of his or
her choice, regardless of the particular sexual orientation of that partnership; and

WHEREAS, the City of Bisbee seeks to end discriminatory practices against
members of the lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, and transgender community; and

WHEREAS, the City of Bisbee, pursuant to the authority granted to it under its
City Charter, has all of the express or implied powers granted to it under the laws of the
State of Arizona and that authority which is not prohibited by the Constitution of this
State; and

WHEREAS, while the Constitution of the State of Arizona imposes restrictions
on the institution of marriage, neither it, nor the other laws of this State impose similar
restrictions on the application of civil unions; and

WHEREAS, to the full extent of its authority to do so, and to no further extent,
the City of Bisbee hereby exercises its authority to express its support for ending
discrimination against all persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and hereby
exercises those powers which it may exercise to seek to put an end to discriminatory
practices within the City of Bisbee; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the City of Bisbee to refuse to continue to
remain silent on this issue, in the face of discriminatory practices that are inconsistent
with the principles upon which our country was founded, and to take such actions as are
within its authority to alter this situation,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF
THE CITY OF BISBEE, COUNTY OF COCHISE, STATE OF ARIZONA, THAT:

Section 1. The amendments to Chapter 17, Bisbee Civil Unions, of the City
Code of the City of Bisbee, as stated in the attached Exhibit A, incorporated herein by
reference, are hereby adopted as an amendment to the City Code of the City of Bisbee.

Section 2. All prior resolutions, ordinances, and policies are hereby repealed
to the extent of any conflict with this Ordinance.

Section 3. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of
this Ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the
remaining portions.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the Mayor and Council of the City
of Bisbee on this __ day of ,2013.
APPROVED:
Adriana Z. Badal, Mayor


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42 comments
Barbie MacBride
Barbie MacBride

Hey, dudes : it's ILLEGAL. Period. Deal with it . . . .

Hector Joe Mora
Hector Joe Mora

Of all the people that want to get involved with this issue! Horne should stop poking his girlfriend in the parking lot.

valleynative
valleynative

Horne and the others are playing right into the hands of the Bisbee leaders.  The ordinance as written is virtually meaningless.  If they had simply chosen to ignore it, Bisbee wouldn't have gotten this great publicity.

The civil unions are only recognized within "the jurisdiction of the City of Bisbee".  That means that you couldn't file a joint state or federal tax return or expect any state or federal agency to recognize the relationship.

Alan Hollander
Alan Hollander

Being mean spirited is fashionable in Arizona. Eventually kindness and compassion rule.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

but I thought Republicans wanted smaller and more local government - what's the deal Horne? Being your typical hypocritical self I see, but what else is new...

And the three reps who complained, don't you believe in the will of the voter??? (Rhetorical question since we all know don't give a shit about the voter, just themselves and their ability to control others)

Sue White
Sue White

Hasn't this guy's fifteen minutes ended yet? Total tool.

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

John McKinnon, Bisbee's city attorney, is a first-rate lawyer. And a far better man than the Horne Dogg. McKinnon is faithful to his wife - unlike AZ's Attorney General, who takes his Cuban mistress with him from job to job. My money's on McKinnon.

Jill Leatherman
Jill Leatherman

Tom Horne should do some real work for a changed and quit bothering good people in their good work instead of going after publicity for when he runs for higher office.

Cris Cross
Cris Cross

AZ has the worst government ever. Just a bunch of assholes that only want our money and the right to destroy everything good. And to abolish every law or agency that is there to protect us from the destruction of our planet. They spend all their time on things that only matter to them. As a way of wasting time so they wont have to do the right thing.

Cory Elizabeth
Cory Elizabeth

News Flash! Tom Horne is trying to thwart the will of the people...AGAIN!

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

Horne only worries about abortion, pot, immigration and now gay marriage. He's a typical Teatard.

Brett Solesky
Brett Solesky

I hope they do sue Bisbee and it winds up in the courts. This is a civil rights issue that the courts will rule in favor of and make the state look like complete ass clowns for every trying to outlaw. You can't make illegal the rights of the people even when you're in the majority.

Calvin Holiday
Calvin Holiday

awwh, cmon... tom horne' knows gay marraige is not right... thats why he has a hired attorney with which to have lunch time tryst...

Carlos Andrés
Carlos Andrés

Well the last time I checked "hit and run" is against the law too Jackass...

valleynative
valleynative

That's not really the "full text" without exhibit A, which seems to include the real changes.


oscaroscaroscar
oscaroscaroscar

But...it is OK for Horne to cheat on his wife and do hit-and-run accidents?

Also...David Gowan, seriously..you have to meet this guy to understand just how completely oafish and ignorant he is.  The guy is short bus material...

Francesp
Francesp

Have you no shame, sir?!? Apparently not.

Cozz
Cozz

Horne, the embarrassment that just keeps on giving.

Francesp
Francesp

If Horne could just enforce real laws, like the ones against hit and run driving, adultery, cronyism, illegal campaign contributions, and illegal investment promotion, the State could be saved.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Apparently Horne didn't read the ordinance.

It doesn't conflict with existing Arizona law nor does it conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act (a bullshit law. But I digress). It merely seeks to modify an existing city ordinance that may conflict with the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

lmao Horne's a bigger idiot than originally thought. He's gonna sue to stop a city ordinance that won't even make a hearing before the Supreme Court decision is released? lmao he couldn't stop medical marijuana. He's gonna need people who may be homosexual to support his campaign should he decide to run for public office again. If he were to favor same-sex unions and offer them the same benefits and protection that are offered to heterosexual couples, he'd be a much more favorable candidate.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

I say strip him of his US citizenship and deport him to Canada.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

Shouldn't HornyBoi be worried about the charges against him, his mistress, his wife knowing about his mistress, hitting cars while catching a nooner with his mistress, and the fact he's a total douchbag that destroyed AZ schools?

bobunf
bobunf

Republicans really know how to reach out to the gay community. And give them a good whack.


Horne didn't have to do this. No ordnance has passed, no civil unions made, no one is inheriting anything. How about waiting for something to actually happen before shooting your mouth off? And it could all be moot depending on what the Supreme Court decides in June.

Or, is it that Horne still wants to run for Governor and is settling his bona fides with the right wing crazies?

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Let's see, According to Horne-y's ethical standards, Same sex unions are a no-no. Committing a hit and run to hide an adulterous affair is a YES-YES.

valleynative
valleynative

@Flyer9753  While most Republicans want smaller and more local government, what most politicians want is more power in their own hands.  State legislators don't like it when cities try to exert power they consider to be their own.


mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

@Flyer9753 None of those legislators have any interest in Bisbee. They are all teabaggers - Gail Griffin is a shill for the real estate industry.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967 The HoneyBoi's fans just want to hear that he's sending fire at "dem dar nasty gays".  They love it!  And almost as much as they love Honey Boo Boo (who is just like their sister/wives)

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@eric.nelson745 That can actually happen!  Did he even enter the US legally?  Maybe marry someone so he could stay (thus, the reason for his mistress, as his wife is gay)  Sheriff Joe needs to confirm that he's not an illegal with his Cold Case Posse!

valleynative
valleynative

@bobunf  I support gay marriage, but it actually is reasonable to let cities know when he considers their proposed legislation to violate State statutes or the Constitution.  It would give them a chance to make changes before they actually pass the legislation.

And I suspect that this sort of public debate was a big part of the plan in choosing to pass this legislation.  Even if it is struck down it's a P.R. victory.


WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@shadeaux14 His campaign slogan will now be "Nookie with a woman , or any mistress, is OK guys!"

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@WhoKnows @MaskedMagician1967

HorniBoy has fans? Who knew?

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@WhoKnows @eric.nelson745

Wait a minute, the Old Fool is from Italy. Maybe we need to verify his birth certificate.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

@WhoKnows @shadeaux14

lol he'll be playing Limp Bizkit's "Nookie" in the background....

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