Wendy Rogers Skips Out on Debate With Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema

Categories: News

Wendy Rogers/Facebook
A debate between Congressional District 9 candidates essentially turned into a half-hour infomercial for Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, as Republican candidate Wendy Rogers skipped the event.

"This candidate forum is not a debate," Rogers spokesman James Harris explains in a statement to New Times. "Typically, a debate is something hosted by multiple news organizations, with rules discussed in advance with both major party candidates. That never happened, and we do not feel this would be a real debate. As a result, Wendy has chosen to spend the time talking to actual voters."

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Maricopa County Issues Hundreds of Marriage Licenses on First Day Gays Allowed to Wed

Categories: News

Ray Stern
Scottdale residents David Chaney and Clark Rowley, after getting their marriage license from Maricopa County on Friday.
Courts across Maricopa County issued nearly 300 wedding licenses on Friday, the first day of legal gay marriage in the state of Arizona.

Aaron Nash, a spokesman for the Clerk of the Superior Court, tells New TImes that three times as many marriage licenses were issued on Friday than on an average day, and there are still couples coming in today.

"It's busier than normal," Nash says. "It's a steady demand, but [there aren't] lines out the door or anything like that."

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Historic Legal Same-Sex Weddings Begin in Arizona

Categories: News

Images: Ray Stern
Vivian and Rochelle Mccarty exchange a kiss after being married in downtown Phoenix today.
In a festive and history-making scene, some of the first legal same-sex weddings in Arizona took place today next to a government building in downtown Phoenix.

The small plaza at 6th Avenue and Jackson Street east of the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court Customer Service Center is normally just a place people walk through on the way to obtain court records -- or a marriage license. But after the state's same-sex marriage ban was struck down today, joyous couples purchased licenses and soon took their vows in the public setting to the cheers of a gathering crowd.

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Phoenix-Area Religious Leaders Gather to Perform State's First Legal Gay Marriages

Categories: News, The Gays

Ashley Cusick
Pastor Vernon Meyer of Sun Lakes United Church of Christ in Chandler, Rabbi Mari Chernow of Temple Chai in Phoenix, Rabbi Ilana Mills of Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, and Reverend John Dorhauer of the United Church of Christ stand outside the Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk's Office ready to perform same-sex marriages.

Religious leaders from around the Valley gathered today in the courtyard outside the Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk's Office, holding signs that read: "We stand ready to MARRY YOU!"

The faith leaders volunteered to perform the county's first same-sex marriages through a campaign organized by Why Marriage Matters Arizona, an organization that has been leading the push for marriage equality in the state. Clergy members from across the state--with Why Marriage Matters' signs in hand--eagerly awaited this morning's historic victory. When the call came that today was the day, volunteers headed to as many marriage-licensing offices as they could to perform ceremonies for the couples who showed up.

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Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Arizona

Categories: News

Benson Kua
Attorney General Tom Horne has given the green-light for same-sex marriage in Arizona, saying that the first ceremony could be completed before lunchtime today.

Horne insisted he disagreed with the federal judge's ruling that ordered an end to enforcing Arizona's laws against same-sex marriage. However, given recent court decisions, Horne said his "chances are zero" in successfully appealing the ruling, and said giving it up was the only real choice he had.

"I fought it as far as I ethically could," Horne says.

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Arizona Prohibited From Enforcing Same-Sex Marriage Ban, but There's a Catch

Categories: News

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: Same-sex marriage is now legal in Arizona. Click here to read the latest updates.

A federal judge declared Arizona's laws against same-sex marriage unconstitutional and issued an order prohibiting officials from enforcing those laws.

However, there's currently one person standing between same-sex couples and Arizona marriage licenses -- Attorney General Tom Horne.

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Widow and Protesters Demand Answers After Phoenix Man Dies During a Run-In with Police

Categories: News

Matthew Hendley
Attorney Sabinus Megwa (center) with Ngozi Mbegbu, the widow of Balantine Mbegbu.
The widow of a man who died after an encounter with Phoenix police was at Phoenix City Hall Thursday with a group of supporters demanding to know more about the man's death.

Balantine Mbegbu, a 65-year-old Phoenix resident, died on October 6 after being tased by a Phoenix police officer.

"I really want to know, why did they kill my husband?" asked Ngozi Mbegbu, Balantine's wife.

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ASU Discouraging Face Paint at Athletic Events Over Blackface Concerns

Categories: News

ASU Athletics/Facebook
Arizona State University's athletics department issued a message to fans to "discourage" the use of face paint at school events.

This comes just days after some students started an uproar over the use of black face-paint by students at a recent football game in which students were encouraged to wear black.

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Arizona Law Denying Bail to Undocumented Immigrants Found Unconstitutional

Categories: News

Matthew Hendley
Arizona's Proposition 100, the 2006 law that denies bail to undocumented immigrants accused of many crimes in the state, will no longer be in effect in the near future.

A panel of judges from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the voter-approved law unconstitutional, as a violation of these immigrants' rights to due process.

"It's a terrific win, primarily for the people," Dan Pochoda, the legal director of the ACLU of Arizona, tells New Times.

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Fountain Hills Teacher Claims She Was Fired for Defending Student Against Racist Bullying

Categories: Education, News

Ashley Cusick
Student Malacai Washington, Reverend Jarrett Maupin, fired teacher Pamela Aister, her attorney Benjamin Taylor, and their supporters at yesterday's press conference.

A Fountain Hills teacher is fighting back after she claims she was wrongfully terminated for defending a student against racist bullying.

Pamela Aister, a 70-year-old fourth-grade teacher, was fired this fall because of an incident that allegedly occurred at Four Peaks Elementary School in Fountain Hills in May. Aister had been with the Fountain Hills Unified School District for 25 years.

Aister claims she saw a verbal altercation in the yard that May morning between five boys and Malacai Washington, an African-American student in her homeroom class and one of only three black students in the school.

At a press conference held yesterday outside the state capitol, Aister said Washington began school in another fourth-grade homeroom but was moved to her class in part because of conflict with other students.

Aister said she approached the boys that May morning and said, "He's in my room now. He's not alone anymore. If you're picking on him, you're picking on me."

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