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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 2, 2016

12/19/2013 1:57:00 PM
Guest Editorial: Is city council treating civil union partners equally, or special?
By: Wendy Parkinson

Let's for a moment set aside your beliefs and opinions regarding same-sex relationships and look at this issue objectively and with critical thinking rather than emotion-based. I attended both the city council meetings of Dec. 3 and Dec. 17.

At the time of the Dec. 3 meeting I had not, much like a lot of us, read the proposed ordinance (604). From the sound bytes here and there and what the council presented at this meeting would lead anyone to believe this is a "no-brainer" good-feeling, doing-what-is-right kind of action.

Of course you would say, why not? Everyone deserves the same rights in accordance with the law. Who even needs to read the five pages of the proposed ordinance, right? But then I heard a council member admit that the proposal wasn't really affording any rights that aren't already there. Hmmm. So I am wondering then, why would a city spend taxpayer dollars (attorney time, clerical support, etc.) and possibly submit the city and others to future litigation? Oh, the city attorney did try to assure the clergy that were present they would not be liable to any lawsuits if they refused to perform a civil union ceremony for a gay couple. Apparently, he has not been following the states of Washington and Colorado where as we speak small business owners are being sued for standing on their convictions.

After that meeting, I did do the right thing and I read the ordinance, which I would recommend to anyone who wants to know exactly what this is about. The council wants to make sure city entities treat civil union partners the same as they would a married spouse. Aren't they already? Aren't there Federal laws in place for government agencies? They want all health providers operating within the city limits to allow a civil union partner to visit a patient. Currently, this is already a practice. Visitors are determined by the patient.

Under the heading "Justification/Benefits/Issues," you will read "In the terms of its legal effect, the proposed ordinance is innocuous." Does this ordinance meet a real need? It was asked numerous times of the council what is the cost. I have yet to hear an answer.

In both meetings the council acknowledged this is a hot-button issue. The council chamber was full of citizens each time. Knowing how controversial this is, why wasn't it taken to the voters to decide? They were asked this question numerous times. We know the Verde Independent reported there were 18 speakers for this ordinance and only 7 against. OK, how many emails did the council receive for and against? If not a public vote, could the council table it for a year and see what if any impact it had on the other cities that have adopted a similar ordinance?

And if you still think it is just an "innocuous" document to further the civil rights of some, here is what the council wrote in the ordinance: "The elected leaders and legislative bodies of the communities that have already adopted these ordinances have indicated they seek to lessen the impact of discriminatory practices against members of the LGBT community, and to provide a meaningful statement of support for the right of all individuals to form lasting and meaningful personal relationships that are respected and recognized under law, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the partners." They continue: "Based on the sentiments expressed by a majority of council members at the Dec. 2 meeting that wi;; be the intent and effect of this ordinance as well."

Still sound innocuous? Does it sound like the council is not treating civil union partners equally, but special? Do you know what it looks like to lessen the impact of discriminatory practices or is that a very broad subjective phrase. Is it the role of a city government to promote any personal relationship whether gay or straight?

Congress has an approval rating of around 15 percent. This is due in part to the disconnect between our elected officials who seem to believe they possess a superior world-view than that of their constituents. Is this the goal of the Cottonwood City Council to incorporate tactics from a failing playbook?

We too often let emotions rule our judgment. Read the ordinance and decide for yourself. Oh wait, the council already did that for you.

Wendy Parkison is a resident of Cornville.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Article comment by: @ Oxy-Moron

Facts for Oxy (Moron)

Here is what the CDC has to say about the healthy lifestyles of homosexuals

Studies have shown that, when compared with the general population, gay and bisexual men, lesbian, and transgender individuals are more likely to:
•Use alcohol and drugs
•Have higher rates of substance abuse
•Are less likely to abstain from alcohol and drug use
•Are more likely to continue heavy drinking into later life[1

As if that's not enough

Alcohol and illegal drug use in some gay and bisexual men also contributes to increased risk for HIV infection and other STDs, especially methamphetamines, amyl nitrates (poppers) and drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol increase their risk for HIV transmission by engaging in risky sexual behaviors.

The evidence indicates that homosexual men molest boys at rates grossly disproportionate to the rates at which heterosexual men molest girls. To demonstrate this it is necessary to connect several statistics related to the problem of child sex abuse: 1) men are almost always the perpetrator 2) up to one-third or more of child sex abuse cases are committed against boys 3) less than three percent of the population are homosexuals. Thus, a tiny percentage of the population (homosexual men), commit one-third or more of the cases of child sexual molestation.

Activists consider the defense of "boy-lovers" to be a legitimate gay rights issue.

Pedophile themes abound in homosexual literary culture: Gay fiction as well as serious academic treatises promote "intergenerational intimacy."

Get it yet? Nobody but the pedophiles and homsexuals are buying your lies anymore!

Posted: Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Article comment by: Unfounded Fear

I think Oxymoron is addressing your fear about, "will it be teaching about homosexuality in our classrooms."

You think your kids don't already know about homosexuality?

They are depicted on television, etc, etc.

Funny how I understood the word 'protect' as censorship about homosexuality and

Scary that your sick mind is . . . somewhere else.

Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Article comment by: OXY MORONS

Obviously, you don't get it . . . the need to 'protect' your children from the LGBT community is all in YOUR mind.

They have friends, teachers, aunts, uncles, etc. that are gay. Your kids don't have an issue with it, obviously you do not know much about the next generation. They are also generally not racist, unless they just don't see through your brainwashing and unfounded hatred, but most do.

As a Christian, even I got the message "Love thy neighbor" instead of YOURS.

You don't like homosexuals? Then I guess you heterosexuals ought to stop having gay children, cause it is not US who are having them, now is it?

Did I spell that out for ya enough to understand?


Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Satan is very much alive.

Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Article comment by: @ Oxy Moron

So what you're saying is While you religious hillbillies pray FOR your children, we (meaning you) are busy preying ON our children.

Your statement of "You would have to literally live in a cave to avoid and 'protect' your children from the LGBT community." makes you scary beyond belief!

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
Article comment by: But Ms. Parkison -

Aren't we all special in the eyes of the Lord?


Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
Article comment by: Interesting how views suddenly change -

So it looks like Ms. Sperry called Mr. Tea-publican Thorpe and advised him of a "controversy' to hop onto then? Of course his response completely missed the reality mark when he does not even know that Bisbee revised their language to suit the states issues.

But again it is interesting how folks suddenly change ideology when the issue does not go their way. The Tea-pub party was all about 'grass roots' and people taking government into their own hands and at the small town level. but once this pops up all of a sudden they retreat to wanting to bow to state and federal law and don't forget the almighty dollar.

So what do you really stand for? one day it is personal responsibility and big government, the next you want to dictate personal morals and disparage the local govt. that you in fact elected!

Feel free to your beliefs but atleast decide which ones to stick to already. Then stick to them!

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
Article comment by: Bruce Morrow

For those concerned about medical and other care, perhaps a living will or advance health care directive would be in order. Check it out in WiKi at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_health_care_directive

This is good in nearly all states and will apply no matter the relationship. This could have solved this issue, but no one brought it up.

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013
Article comment by: OXY MORONS

The wonderous thing about religious redneck parents is that we do not have to teach your kids about homosexuality in the classroom.

You do that when you use the television to babysit and every time you spew your hate about homosexuals. You would have to literally live in a cave to avoid and 'protect' your children from the LGBT community.

Sad thing is that with that large family you are so fond of "cause God said go forth and procreate" the chance that you will have a gay child are much greater, than homosexuals having a gay child. -)

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Article comment by: Rose Sperry

Kudos to Wendy Parkison on her very intelligent, informative and well written letter. I'm not here to quote the Bible nor our Founding Fathers as was done at the last City Council Meeting. "Quote" throwers have a tendency to use these out of context to justify their position, as was shown at the last meeting. What people don't realize is that the audience is made up of people with various educational and private study backgrounds that aren't so easily duped!

What I have to say is that the full Arizona Electorate spoke on this issue in 2008 with Prop. 102. Now, that is the definition of a "Majority!" On May 17, 2013, Equal Marriage Arizona filed an initiative to put an amendment on the 2014 election ballot which would replace the current marriage definition with a gender-neutral definition. The initiative was later suspended due to a lack of support from LGBT organizations. It would have been so easy to take this back to the Electorate and find out where the Majority or Minority really stand. I suspect you didn't want to find out. Instead, you chose to vest power to a Council that didn't study the law already in place. I wonder, now that you've set this precedent, what you will do when this very Council, chooses to abuse their power once again and turns against you on issues that you hold dearer than this one. And make no mistake about it, they will, because power in the wrong hands just craves for more. The only question remaining is when?

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Article comment by: Marianne Marshall

couple things you may not know - the "business owners" were not a church or religious organization. Any business owner has the right to refuse service, however they do not have the right to discriminate based on sex, race, religion. A Rabbi does not have to perform any marriage for a non Jewish person, just as a Priest wouldn't have to perform a service for me a straight atheist. Besides, why would I want to give money to a business that is a bigot. - In those states you mention there are state laws that prohibit the discrimination of the LGBT population.

Next, even though hospitals getting federal funds "can not discriminate" based on sexual orientation this doesn't mean it doesn't happen all the time. Also if a person is unconscious how can he tell his doctors who is and isn't allowed to take care of his medical decisions or who can see him/her in the hospital.

There are A LOT of companies in the city of Cottonwood that are actual owned by members of the LGBT community. They are paying a lot of taxes to this town because of their businesses. They could just as easily pack up and move to Jerome, Clarkdale or Sedona - towns that do have civil union ordinances - I think if they did you'd be surprised how few places would remain in the town.

Isn't it better to be welcoming of all persons to improve our town instead of being afraid of something you really don't understand. Maybe having sex education in our schools would help resolve your fears.
Despite what some people say in their hatred vitriol they would see that gays are not the sexual predators of children, animals or want to marry their toaster.

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Article comment by: Charles Barrett

As the writer states, in health care situations, "Visitors are determined by the patient." But what if the patient has been injured or medically incapacitated and cannot speak for him- or herself? Antagonistic family members could prevent the surviving partner from having access to the patient.
This ordinance is NOT legally superfluous. It is essential to ensure equal treatment.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: What state law allows 'civil unions'? ....

The state legislators killed a 'civil union' bill early
this year by letting it stay in committee.

The city council seems to have NO authority to
enact Ordinance 604!?

A pragmatic tact is for our council to convert the
recently passed enactment to a resolution and
submit same with a cover letter asking the
legislators to bring a 'civil union' back for a
YEAs/NAYs vote.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Wade Ummer

OXY, do you really not understand that an independent voter can be a social conservative, and vice versa?

The two are not mutually exclusive.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

The state of Arizona has never asked to see our marriage licence or even asked if we have one. I married in a different state and Arizona didn't ask us to re-licence like they did with my drivers licence. Marriage licences are just a hidden tax.

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