LB - RoomStore 0503

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local May 28, 2016

12/5/2013 1:49:00 PM
Hot debate over civil unions in Cottonwood
City Council expected to vote on issue Dec. 17
The Cottonwood City Council Chambers were filled to capacity Tuesday during the first reading of the city’s proposed civil unions ordinance. VVN/Jon Hutchinson
The Cottonwood City Council Chambers were filled to capacity Tuesday during the first reading of the city’s proposed civil unions ordinance. VVN/Jon Hutchinson

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- The passion in the room was so thick it could be cut with a knife. There were no smiles; everyone in the audience was deadly serious.

The Cottonwood Council Chambers Tuesday night filled with people invested in a single subject: civil unions and how the city proposed to acknowledge them in city code. Jerome, Sedona, Bisbee and Tucson have already taken a similar position.

City Attorney Steve Horton described the code for the council and audience and what it does and does not do.

The code allows the city to maintain a registry of civil union partnerships and documents related to children, property and the like.

It allows partners in civil unions to be treated the same as spouses by the city, for health insurance and benefits.

It would require health care and hospice facilities to also treat civil partners as spouses for health care.

The code does not, said Horton, provide a right for same sex marriage. Horton said Arizona voters have already voted declaring marriage as one man and one woman.

When it came to public comment on the issue, much of the opposition was based on religious beliefs. Most support came from people already in relationships.

As part of the background material, Horton described the proposed changes as "innocuous," but many of the audience members didn't see it that way. One by one, 16 citizens took the podium to portray in five minutes what the code would do. Many who were among the first to rise were anchored in a religious viewpoint: two of them pastors of churches.

Pastor Jack Pease was specific: "I have no objection to homosexuals, but for some of us, there is no middle ground. The homosexual goal is contrary to nature."

The lead pastor of Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Frank Nevarez, told he council, "The voice of the people is being left out of this process." He called for a public vote on an amendment, too. Nevarez cited legal cases in other states where a person could be sued for failing to marry same-sex couples. He said, "I don't want to be open to litigation."

Attorney Steve Horton responded, "There is nothing in this ordinance that would make anyone on the receiving end. It does not create a substantive right."

"You have a solution, looking for a problem," Jay Parkison told the council,

Bradley Blaylock was the first to speak and identify himself with the LBGT community. He addressed the comments generated by the two pastors, "When you use religion to do tribal warfare, you dehumanize people. I belong. We belong!" he insisted.

A lifelong nurse who has worked at Verde Valley Medical Center, Judy Cowan said she worried that adoption of civil union provisions will trigger a cost-increasing chain reaction. As an example she cited the HIPAA act (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and its privacy requirements she said were the outcome of people getting AIDS.

"The AIDS Commission debunked the fear of HIV," said David Dufur, who had a sister on that commission.

"We get distracted by emotion and beliefs, but we fought a war that all men are created equal...the Civil War. This is really on your shoulders," he told the council. "You are the Pontius Pilate!"

Mary McGuire was one of several that concurred that, "It should be brought to a vote, like the vote that declared that marriage is a union between one man and one woman." That occurred at the 2008 general election, effectively denying same-sex marriage in Arizona.

"In the end it is the soul that is attacked," she said.

From the other side, Catherine Puerta drew a circle around her face, "This is the face of a gay woman. This topic is so important because it is factual."

Another said, "Its not about AIDS, its about my children, my people. I have my family, too. That's why we are here."

One man who described himself as a pastor in Clarkdale told the council there no way homosexuals can procreate, it violates natural law, he said. The speaker cited writings suggesting that approval of such liberties would lead to a "moral revolution for a changed mindset." He questioned, "What arguments would be made for bestiality and incest. It turns a moral wrong into a civil right."

Former councilmember Darold Smith said he supported both civil unions and gay marriage.

"There is nothing different for them. At what age," he asked, "did these people decide to be homosexual or gay? This is not a shameful thing. They were born this way."

Several council members readily supported the code change. Tim Elinski said, "we try to make equality for everyone."

"Politics don't get involved," Terence Pratt said. "This is a civil issue. It's a human issue. There are times in history when people have to make a difficult decision. I feel comfortable."

"I felt discrimination. I knows what it feels like," said Ruben Jauregui. "We were all created by God's hand."

Jesse Dowling said he has a family member who is a lesbian, but "I didn't ask people who voted for me whether they are homosexual or gay. If you don't re-elect me, that is fine. No person is worth more than another."

But Karen Pfeifer said she would vote against the civil unions measure. "People who spoke against it have a right to have support."

Randy Garrison did not take a side, instead thanking all those who came to the council to voice their opinion.

Finally, Mayor Diane Joens, said, "I am a Christian and still have my faith, but my issue is discrimination. We used to discriminate against blacks, but they are equal." She noted the city manager is deeply involved in the Holocaust training program in Yavapai County in the face of millions of Jews killed by the Nazis.

She said her brother-in-law is gay and recalled a comment her mother made, "It's going to be a hard life for him."

The council heard the first reading of the code amendment #604. The council did agree that they would not charge a fee for listing of documents in the city

The City Clerk Marianne Jiménez says the second meeting of the Council in December will be Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.

Taylor Waste
Related Stories:
• Civil unions on tap for City Council

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Marana man suffers skull injury, brain bleed following ATV crash (3260 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (3159 views)

•   Cornville man charged with child molestation seeks plea (3052 views)

•   Man arrested on numerous charges after crashing stolen motorcycle (2396 views)

•   Blaze erupts from panel van at gas station (2325 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: Leave the bible out of this!

Your god, my god, their god! Give me a break! I have never heard any god tell me that I should discriminate. Treat everyone like a human being. The bible was written and rewritten by men and used to control and suppress people.

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Article comment by: S T

Thank you for posting the city council meeting, it was informative. I'm proud of the majority of our city council for recognizing what should be a right regardless of their religious or personal beliefs that ordinance 604 is a civil right. The issue before the city is 'civil unions', may it be between two men, two women or a man and a woman. Religion and personal beliefs have no place in our government. The declaration of independence says "All men are created equal", women were left out, slavery of black people was acceptable, if you beleive, thank God that changed, Things change over time, hopefully for the good of all people. ST

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: Just Checking

Good gracious! When did the bible become the law of the land? This country, contrary to today's seemingly popular belief, was NOT founded on Christianity.

Furthermore, homo sapiens are part of the animal kingdom. I hate to disillusion any "christians" out there, but animals DO participate in homosexual activity. The desire for sexual activity is within the body, not within words in a book.

This is the 21st Century, not the Salem Witch Trials. And especially until many christians practice what they preach (yes, Emmanuel Fellowship, you have or had one who digressed from the "norm" and is it normal for Mormons to practice polygamy--yeah, I know, most don't today--and how about Jim Haggard?), maybe they should practice God's and Jesus's love instead of throwing stones. Sexual activity is part of nature--marriage is determined by man's brain and written on a piece of paper.

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Mary Jane
I wonder what your position would be if the subject were Baptism vs city recognition of the registration of a certificate of birth in a particular county.

That's actually all that is at issue in this particular municipal ordinance.

Civil government does not have the authority to dictate who a particular church will or will not baptize (or marry, or confirm, or induct into Holy Orders). Ecumenical entities do not have the authority to dictate who may or may not be legally registered as a citizen (or enter into a legally binding contract) in this constitutional republic.

First Article of the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

@ @Thank you...

Boy, talk about repetitive verbiage of hate! The word you need to bone up on is, P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N!

Your Hollywood dissertations sound like they come from the militant homosexual leftist, Perez Hilton. Undoubtedly a hero of yours since you parrot the same hissy fit drivel.

Hatred is definitely the milieu of the homosexual cause. Resistance to the trivialization of marriage is hardly hateful.

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013
Article comment by: GRANTING of rights?

Please explain, 'Curious'.

The issue isn't the granting of rights. So long as you are not restricted from cohabiting with a partner or partners of your choice, your RIGHTS are not being infringed.

The question is whether or not government should license cohabitation outside of marriage (civil unions) and mandate that dispensations automatically given to legally-married couples also be given to those in civil unions.

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013
Article comment by: Nora Morse

Many marriages are uncivil unions.

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013
Article comment by: Always Curious

I am always amazed at how people can be so concerned about the granting of rights to people based on what they do privately. And those same people seem to know a lot about what it is “those people” do. Sounds rather weirdly obsessive to me – and actually creepy.

And these subjects (be it rights for gays or rights for blacks or rights for people to marry “outside” their race, or the right of “those people” to vote) are – for some really odd reason – always couched in religion. What that has to do with anything is a mystery – oh wait, I forgot RELIGION is what guides the intellectually challenged at every turn. Sorry.

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013
Article comment by: The Goatherder

These are the same people who'll stand on street corners ranting about the government controlling their lives, teabags dangling from their silly hats. Yet they have no problem at all restricting the rights of others they deem to be "immoral".

What's wrong with this picture?

They're beating a dead horse anyhow. In case they haven't noticed the millennial generation doesn't give a hoot about anyone's sexuality. All gay people have to do is hang on a bit longer and the change will come in spite of these hateful folks.

Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

First, there is no "Real World" advantage to government licencing of marriages or unions. Second, it is Yavapai County that issues these licences. My final point is that public property is for public business and not for the rantings of busybodies.

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013
Article comment by: William Elms

As a man, who has been in a same sex relationship for the last 14yrs, all I'm asking for, is the same legal right's others have. If my partner or myself are in the hospital, we have no right's at all. We pay taxes like every other married couple does. It would be nice to have the same rights as others. Everybody wants to bring the bible into everything. One of the speakers is the pastor of the church I attend. I will not be attending that church anymore. We will not be having children who will be on welfare or asking others to support us. And for the worry of Gay Marriage spreading AIDS is crazy. I'm appalled that Verde Valley Medical Center would even employ a nurse who is so ignorant. You people need to wake up. I, as well as my partner, are American Citizen's who have always been employed, paid taxes and never been on welfare. We should be afforded the same rights as every heterosexual married couple do in this great nation.........

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013
Article comment by: T.J. O'Malley

The bible is a book written by people who wanted people to live a certain way, I can talk all night about the bible but ill get back to the science fiction later, I don't know why people care so much about same sex couples being married, all these people are asking for is to be accepted and have the same rights as everyone else not special right's, I have family members who are gay and really could care less if they are married, I am also an ordained minister and will marry people of the same sex, and since their is no god nothing is gonna happen to me, now back to the science fiction. As I stated above the bible was written by people who wanted the people of this world to follow the law they believe people should follow, and to make it scary and sink in they claimed that it is god's law, he said this is the way to live and if you don't you will burn. If god does exist then I think he would really care less who someone married male female, male,male, female,female, cause isn't this fictional character supposed to be someone who loves us?

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013
Article comment by: Slater slater

Wow,talk about Mumbo Jumbo.

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013
Article comment by: Miranda Foreman

I was at the meeting on Tuesday. I did not choose to speak that night, but I am taking the opportunity to now.

As a married mom of 4, I have the right and privileged to walk down the street with my man and hold his hand without being discriminated against by my LGBT brothers and sisters. BUT, as an openly bisexual woman, I am not awarded the SAME luxury when I hold a woman's hand. Being on BOTH SIDES of that coin - straight and gay - I see and feel the unfairness granted to me as straight AND denied to me as gay.

The "religious" community who are simply afraid of what they don't understand, would rather call and collectively group ALL homosexuals as "deviants." I am NOT a deviant. My gay friends are not deviants. My gay family members are not "deviants." There is no "gay agenda" and we don't actively have recruiting stations like religion or the military.

I use the term "religious" because that's what I heard at the meeting - opposition to a new proposed ordinance because it's against GOD'S LAW. This is NOT a religious matter, it's a legal matter, it's a human matter. It's a matter of being able to love yourself enough to not have to hide, or be ashamed or embarrassed.

"The power of religion can hold an entire lifetime hostage. That's a lot of pain." - Psychologist Derryl Ray

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013
Article comment by: Civil union want same goodies as Marriage union.

A possible solution is to get rid of entitlement
benefits giving away by gov(fed, state, local),
and replace with needs based benefits.

Try can and has worked.

  - Page 1 -  Page 2

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
HSE - Readers Choice 300x100
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai Herbal Services

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved