Bisbee approves civil union ordinance

Despite Attorney General warning, council votes 5-2 for same-sex unions

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BISBEE - In a 5-2 decision, the Bisbee City Council defied a warning by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and approved same-sex civil unions Tuesday night.

The vote followed an emotional three hour hearing attended by more than 100 people who packed the council chambers, representing local churches and gay rights organizations.

City Attorney John MacKinnon said he would take on the anticipated state legal challenge at no charge to the city. Bisbee resident and retired attorney Margo McCartney, also offered her services.

Change is coming, and for once, let’s be the first, not the last,” said Bree Holcomb of Bisbee.

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climing on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 6:44am
Title: Yea Bisbee!!

Yea Bisbee!!

RobLeach on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 6:47am

Odd how Griffin, Gowan and Stevens complained about big government
interferring in peoples lives, and then they in turn act in the capacity of
big government and do the very same thing they criticized. Again, the book of
these 3 is very different than the cover.

logodle on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 7:32am

Bisbee- how nice.

BLACKOUT on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 7:37am

Thats great, now get to work on some real issues in Bisbee, like how the town
is falling apart……

HJackson on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 7:44am

Griffin, Gowan, and Stevens wrote letters complaining about Bisbee’s plans?
What possible business is it of theirs when two people want to commit
themselves to each other? Don’t they have real government work to do? Loud
applause and hoo-rays for Bisbee AZ!!!!

Kaybee on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 8:30am

The unspoken reason that Bisbee decided to do this is to cash in on the
filing fees. I love how they never address this, but despite how they say the
ordinance will not affect the law elsewhere in the state, these POLITICIANS
are hopeful that people flock to Bisbee to get “married” and the city will
reap the benefits.

Hereford Resident on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 9:01am

@RobLeach Why are you such a sore loser? You lost the election because you
don’t have a clue what you are doing. These three were elected by a majority
of the people in their district. It amazes me that is all you talk about is
these three people. I for one think they are doing a great job and Bisbee
just pretty much broke Arizona law so what they passed isn’t legal outside
that hippy town of Bisbee. We have more important things to worry about than
same sex unions. Obviously Bisbee doesn’t get that.

RobLeach on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 10:19am

If you mean by great job you must be referring to doubling the state debt in
four years. Perhaps you mean great job in terms of failing to create jobs and
still falling behind the national average. Perhaps you mean their voice
against the Governor in expanding Medicaid and adding thousands of jobs to
AZ. To sum it up they failed to control the budget, and are failing to do
anything to actually spur business growth. Perhaps your trio of debt creators
should actually do more imporatant things as you suggest and do something
that is positive for a change.

Joe cuzen on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 1:30pm

May be it is time to move the county seat out of Bisbee.

Knight Rider on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 1:46pm

HR… I agree with you “We have more important things to worry about than
same sex unions.” But your statement that “Obviously Bisbee doesn’t get
that.” is incorrect. It would seem that it is indeed Griffin, Gowan, and
Stevens that want to drag this out and make it an important issue, otherwise
they wouldn’t have gone to Horne. Put the blame where it lies, if it
wasn’t for their getting involved this would already be an issue put to

Dumb Herb on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 7:24pm

Over the years I’ve come to enjoy Bisbee-isms. I first became aware of
Bisbee’s historical significance as a child when a proud Bisbee resident
(what other kind is there) informed me that Bisbee had invented almost
everything I had ever heard of and had saved the United States during World
War 2. No one was sure of the exact details but it was monolithic in its
telling. As a teenager I continued to hear of the greatness of Bisbee, yet I
wondered why someone had dug such a big hole and just left it there. Its the
8th wonder of the world as told by nearly every Bisbee-ite. As an adult I
discovered Tombstone which had a completely different version of history, an
old timer there describing that huge hole called the “pit” as the worlds
largest spittoon. That made sense to me until I considered that he actually
lived in town named Tombstone.

AZterritory on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 8:21pm

Yeah, I guess you could put it in the 21st century.

Puh-lease on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 8:26pm

Well done, Bisbee!

Cassandra on Wed, 04/03/2013 - 9:54pm

Kaybee- it’s hard to imagine that the $76 filing fee can be such a cynosure as to justify this elaborate spectacle.

However, if a thousand gay couples flock to Bisbee, dine in the restaurants and rumple the coverlets of the local hotels, good for them. I congratulate the council members on their canniness.

I would like to see Bisbee strike a blow against ignorance and reap a financial reward in the bargain.

BLACKOUT on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 7:51am

Just another grasp at the tail end of the rope, Bisbee is failing. The
schools suck and offer next to nothing, the streets are falling apart. As
long as you have residents who are on the public dime or do not pay there
city fees, it will continue. I personally dont have a problem with same sex
marriages, as long as they are getting the same benefits as me. But the City
is in trouble.

Knight Rider on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:27am

The comedian Chris Rock famously advised, ‘If a friend calls you on the
telephone and says they’re lost on Martin Luther King Boulevard and they want
to know what they should do, the best response is ‘Run!’

FreeThinker on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 12:08pm

Intelligent decision for the Bisbee council to make. They were wise in the
construction of their language to label this union as a “Civil Union” and not
“Marriage” I do believe when this argument is constructed properly that
nobody cares, including those who engage in homosexual behavior, what other
people do providing they don’t present any harm to others, their properties,
or with the absence of consent from the other party(s). I take no issue with
a civil union, seen through the eyes of the law, as equal to a married union,
but I do take issue when/if the law will force the hand of a religious
institution to perform ceremonies that are objectionable to their faith or
use the law to force those of us to accept homosexuality as a normal

Knight Rider on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 2:04pm

FYI everyone. My last comment was meant for the board discussing the redflex
cameras where MLK Pkwy meets the 90.

Ken Adams on Fri, 04/05/2013 - 1:46pm

The disturbing part of this article, to me, is that Sen. Griffin and Reps.
Gowan and Stevens all represent Bisbee. In other words, Bisbee helped vote
them into office. Seems to me that they should “represent” what Bisbee wants.
Their jobs are to stand in for Bisbee in the state legislature, not to “tell
mom and dad” when they are doing something wrong. They sure accepted Bisbee’s
votes when it meant something good for each of them. How quickly they forgot
who put them where they are. I say vote them out Bisbee! They sure don’t seem
to care what you want, so why care what they want?

Cassandra on Fri, 04/05/2013 - 5:51pm

but I do take issue when/if the law will force the hand of a religious institution to perform ceremonies that are objectionable to their faith.” Since that can not actually happen nor is anyone suggesting such a policy, you should have no cause to take issue. Already, a non-Catholic couple cannot force a Catholic Church to perform their wedding - that is the point of separating church and state.

Furthermore, how would anyone “use the law to force those of us to accept homosexuality as a normal behavior?” No one, absolutely no one, is interested in your views on normal. However, it is appropriate to rely on force of law to prevent people from denying equal protections and dignity to people with lifestyles that differ from your own.

I loathe Adam Sandler films, but I do not support denying Adam Sandler fans employment or housing, which we can legally deny homosexuals in Arizona.

Realist on Sat, 04/06/2013 - 12:47am

Ken, You obviously are unfamiliar with the candidates. Both Bisbee and
Douglas are liberal democratic strongholds. They voted very heavily for the
candidates apposing all of the candidates you listed, so your comments
“Bisbee helped vote them into office” clearly is not factual. The issue
is not one that their conservative platform (and that of the majority of
conservatives in Cochise County) would support. Here is a link to the last
election results:
Further, they are legislators at the state level not individuals in the
judicial or executive branches of government. Since the Attorney General is
the one challenging this issue, (the executive branch) they would have no
pull even if they thought Bisbee was correct in creating this ordinance. The
Bisbee council overstepped their authority and this will be overturned
quickly regardless if you agree with the issue or not.

Auntie Em on Sat, 04/06/2013 - 6:38am

Bisbee has done the right thing, the compassionate thing. I am so proud.

Knight Rider on Sat, 04/06/2013 - 6:07pm

Come on Cassandra! Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Water Boy, Big Daddy…

FreeThinker on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 9:18am

“it is appropriate to rely on force of law to prevent people from denying
equal protections and “dignity” to people with lifestyles that differ from
your own.”

Your language in your statement validates my point. Dignity? Your intentions
are to utilize force to punish those of us that refuse to accept homosexual
behavior as normal. Just ask Aaron Klein a bakery owner in Oregon.
Your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you.
By your own choice of words it looks like Conform is the new coexistence

Oh by the way, there is no Separation of Church -n- State.

FreeThinker on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 9:31am

“I loathe Adam Sandler films, but I do not support denying Adam Sandler fans
employment or housing, which we can legally deny homosexuals in Arizona.”

You don’t have a Right to a job nor do you have a Right to home ownership.
You have the liberty to negotiate for such that is all. There is no
I don’t have to employ anyone
I don’t have to sell my properties to anyone
Visa Versa…. Versa Visa. I’m not the only “game in town” Find someone that
End of Story

FreeThinker on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 9:50am

“which we can legally deny homosexuals in Arizona.”

Cassandra there is no such thing as a “Homosexual” Homosexuality is a
behavior, not a gender, not a race. There is no box, nor should there be, to
be check to define a persons behavior(s).

Cassandra, we all have behaviors that some, or most, would find unacceptable.
The difference is most of us don’t see the need, nor want, to force such
behaviors upon all to accept.

“No Shirt”
“No Shoes”
“No Service”
If these people can be denied for their lack of civil behavior’s, on private
property by the way, then so can all behaviors that are not welcomed in any
private establishment.

Knight Rider on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 12:09pm

Even some of the most right wing of conservatives admits that same sex
marriage will eventually happen and some have even started to endorse support
for it. I honestly think there are more important issues facing our country
for there to be any debate over two adults entering into a consensual
marriage regardless of their sex. How about we worry a little more about the
11 million criminals our government (both conservative and liberal) wants to
give a free pass to. How about our government’s (again BOTH liberals and
conservatives) inability to pass a proper budget? Who are they the SV School

Cassandra on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 9:04pm

there is no such thing as a ‘Homosexual.’” You know Free Range, despite a growing body of scientific evidence that homosexual orientation is as organically innate to some as heterosexual orientation is to most, we don’t even have to go there.

No rational person proposes a biological or racial component for a person’s status as “Christian.” Yet state and federal laws protect christians from discrimination. Religious practices are clearly behaviors and, even when I find them unpalatable and offensive, I cannot fire a person or prevent him from living in a given neighborhood because I dislike his spiritual inclinations.

You don’t have a Right to a job.” I don’t know where you’ve been for the past 50 years, but I have a right not to be disqualified from a job for which I am qualified because the employer doesn’t like “people like me.”

Ken Adams on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 8:08am

Sorry Realist, I thought I had written that Bisbee “helped” vote them in, not
that it had done it all by itself. Oh, wait, that is what I said… I do,
also, know that one or two people do not make or set policy. However, as a
“representative” I would like to see that person “represent” their
consituents. Thanks for all your information, though. Without it, I never
could have guessed that Bisbee was a liberal community (tongue firmly in

Walt on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 9:12am

“despite a growing body of scientific evidence that homosexual orientation is
as organically innate to some as heterosexual orientation is to most, we
don’t even have to go there.” And what is that “growing body of scientific
evidence,” Cassandra?

Myron Jaworsky on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 10:53am

REF: Walt, “despite a growing body…” It’s all over the place, except in the
Bible. Of course, if homosexuality is biologically innate to any extent, then
it’s a part of “God’s plan,” just as much as heterosexuality is. Let’s
review: Doesn’t the Bible call for killing homosexuals? Is that “God’s plan?”

Cassandra on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 10:28pm

And what is that ‘growing body of scientific evidence,’ Cassandra?” Why Walt, it’s just that - a growing body of scientific evidence.

Here are a few abstracts of studies upon the subject.

These are a few random items from among dozens that I could include after 20 minutes of searching from home. I could include more, but I doubt you’ll even look at these. So it is with faith; it can endure all manner of tribulation but cannot abide investigation.

Walt on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 11:07am

“20 minutes of searching from home.” Thanks for your effort, Cassandra!F

Walt on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 11:16am

“It’s all over the place, except in the Bible” Sorry, Myron, but I use
God’s word over some opinions formed by a piece of dust. If you have concerns
about what is in the bible, and if it doesn’t agree with your beliefs, why
not ask the author of the bible why He put that in there and what His will

Bruce McRae on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 12:26pm

I am a resident of the City of Bisbee. Even though I agree with equality
among all, I disagree that the council did the right thing. Now before
everyone starts bashing me, I will explain my reasons. First and foremost,
they pushed personal interests above the majority of the constituents. As
they have since taking there seats. And they will continue to do so until
recalled. The city is dying and angering they that hold the purse strings
doesn’t help. Yes. The city attorney say he will do for free, pro bono, but,
he is a lawyer. Eventually he will want money.

Myron Jaworsky on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 10:34pm

REF: Walt, “It’s all over the place…” If I were to take your advice to “ask
the author of the bible why He put that in there and what His will is,” it
would be pretty much like talking with you, because for all intents and
purposes, you know God’s mind.

Walt on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 11:21am

“you know God’s mind.” You too, Myron, can know God’s mind by reading His
Word, the Bible. It is His communication to all of us and it reflects His
will for our lives and beyond.

Myron Jaworsky on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 1:38pm

REF: Walt, “you know God’s mind…” In fact, I have read the Bible and
conclude that the God(s) it refers to are either psychopathic, sociopathic,
or just delusional. Examine the concept of agape (Greek term) or caritas (the
corresponding Latin term), both of which can be translated as
non-self-interested or unconditional love. Christ supposedly died for our
sins because of his love for humans—except that it’s conditional on our
acceptance of his status as Savior, no matter what we’ve done. If so, then
heaven and eternal bliss; if not, then hell and eternal damnation. It seems
more like a business deal than like agape or caritas. Apparently, in a
religion that makes a big deal about forgiveness and turning the other cheek,
those practices only go so far. The notion of a business deal also pervades
the Old Testament: covenant is only another word for “contract.” And an
arbitrary and capricious one at that.

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