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AZ activists optimistic about gay marriage prospects

Maggie Vespa

Photo: Video by kgun9.com

AZ activists optimistic about gay marriage prospects

CREATED Jun. 26, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Historic as it is, the effects of Wednesday's landmark ruling only reach so far.

Those who live in states that don't recognize same sex marriage, like Arizona, may not reap federal benefits.
 
Some hope that will soon change.
 
Arizona is one of five states with a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
 
Gay rights activists say it is a hard sell, which is why they hit the ground running months ago.
 
They banded together in Bisbee.
 
"This is exciting," one resident told us months ago.  "This is a moment in history."
 
They faced a furious fight.
 
"This ordinance is disgusting," said one opponent.  "It is not natural."
 
That fight finished a few weeks ago, with the city's approval of same sex civil unions.
 
Tucson soon followed suit with an emotional testimonial from one council member.
 
"Thousands of Tucson residents like me do not have the right to marry our chosen loved ones in Arizona," said Karin Uhlich, choking back tears.  "We do however have the right to enter into committed relationships."
 
Wednesday night, following this historic announcement from Capitol Hill, those behind local landmark movements were moved.
 
"It means a lot to me to my family and to so many thousands and millions across the country," said Uhlich Wednesday.
 
But Arizona's opposition stands strong.
 
"If it's something that is opposed to what we understand the Bible to say, then that's where we stand," said Pastor Gary Marquez of North Swan Baptist Church.
 
And advocates know there's no time to rest.
 
"We're ready to go on printing petitions today," said Erin Ogletree Simpson, co-chair of Equal Marriage Arizona.
 
Members of recently formed group are working to get same sex marriage back on the ballot and on the brains of lawmakers in Phoenix.
 
"We're coming at this from right, left, middle, and getting people to see this is something Arizonans can agree on," she said.
 
It's a long road ahead, with both sides ready to do battle.
 
Members of 'Equal Marriage Arizona' plan to begin collecting the nearly 260,000 signatures needed this week.
 
Those interested in signing that petition, can head to their website by clicking here.

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