Arizona AG Agrees to Civil Union Changes

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April 30, 2013
Lambda Legal Law and Policy Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer

After meeting with Lambda Legal, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne agreed yesterday to changes in a civil union ordinance in the city of Bisbee.

From the Associated Press:

Horne and Jennifer Pizer of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund say Bisbee will rewrite a section of the ordinance to make it clear that it doesn't confer rights under state laws.


Bisbee's intent was to make it easier for people in same-sex relationships to take advantage of city benefits and current state contract laws, said Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda. The idea was to create a public record about their wishes in health care, property rights and other legal arrangements.

“It makes it easier for institutions or third parties to understand that those arrangements have been made and to respect the wishes of that family,” Pizer said.

Read the full story here.

Pizer told the Sierra Vista, Ariz., Herald, that just having cities list rights could be a step down the road toward eventual statewide recognition of couples.

“An important part of reducing discrimination against anyone, but specifically diverse families, is having government show a recognition of the commitment, the financial obligations couples take on, the fact that couples are having children,” she said.

“The range of things that are called out by this ordinance show that the city sees these families functioning as other families, despite the lack of recognition in state law,” Pizer continued. “As attitudes change, as respect is afforded, then we get closer to the time when we can actually change the law to reflect that respect and provide all the protections.”

Lambda Legal is grateful to the Anita May Rosenstein Foundation for partially funding the work of the Law and Policy Project.

More here.

Previously: Lambda Legal Rebuffs Arizona Attorney General

Read Lambda Legal’s letter to Attorney General Horne.