(UPDATE: I have added a ton of information on the vote over at my pad.)

This shows you the consistency and tireless bigotry of the far right -- they simply will not stop trying to prevent LGBTs from obtaining full civil equality. They scraped up enough bigots to do the deed. Jim Burroway of BTB breaks it.

We just received word that late this evening that the Arizona Senate was able to scare up the sixteen votes needed to put a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage onto the ballot.

Tucson’s District 30 Senator and Senate President Tim Bee was the sixteenth vote.

Look at how much trouble the legislature went through to put the civil rights of a minority back before mob rule. From the Arizona Republic:

In the final hours of one of the longest state legislative sessions on record, state Senators approved a measure sending a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the fall ballot.

The long-anticipated vote on the measure followed hours of angry, raucous debate, in which the legislative rule book was used as a weapon to both stall the vote and cut short debate. Senators on both sides of the aisle and the issue lamented a melt-down in the higher chamber, as most of the day's work was scrapped so that the marriage amendment could be voted on while key senators were present.

...In the end, the marriage amendment was one of the few measures to survive Friday with the Legislature playing the role of executioner after a marathon 166-day session.

Some of the commentary at the AZ Republic is below the fold, as well as the winding path this story has taken since a marriage amendment in this state was defeated at the polls in 2006. In 2006, John McCain's state made history by being the first to turn away a marriage amendment at the polls. John McCain supported the amendment:

"I believe that the institution of marriage should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman, said Sen. McCain. The Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state. I wholeheartedly support the Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment and I hope that the voters in Arizona choose to support it as well."

-- John McCain in 2005, smiling with glee alongside then-chair of Protect Marriage Arizona, the late Lynn Stanley, holding some of the petitions that ensured the measure made it on the ballot.

...and he even recorded an endorsement:

The primary reason for the defeat of the initiative was that it was so comprehensive that it would have endangered unmarried heterosexual couples as well, including the many seniors who live in the state who cohabitate for a host of reasons.

The state government later approved domestic partnerships for state employees, with support from Gov. Janet Napolitano.

It wasn't enough for the homobigots. They wanted another crack at at TEH GAYZ, so they retooled the amendment to focus on restricting marriage to one man and one woman, leaving out language that could outlaw any legal recognition of unmarried couples and sent it back through the legislature. Just this week, the fundnuts were dealt a blow when during the waning days of the legislative session, the state senate, in a 14-11 vote, rejected the ballot initiative.

But it still wasn't over. As the clock ran down, the measure was brought up again in the late hours last night -- the GOP scraped up enough bigots to do the deed as reported above the fold.

The question now is, will all those single seniors (and their allies), who voted against the 2006 amendment because of its broad scope, will show everyone that they weren't just voting their own interest last time around.


Even though this story just broke in the late hours on Friday, their time, there are already six pages of comments, including these.

This is something that should be decided by the people and not decided by the courts.

If the opponents of this measure really believe that it changes nothing, they should not much care. But we all know that the courts are where the laws are being changed. Thus, this does change something. It lets the people decide, not a few judges.

It'd sure be great if people would just mind their own business and stop trying to control the private lives of others.

Busy, busy, busy. Those 90 Dwarfs got a lot done at the last minute.

The Troglodites are amassing. Bid farewell to Jake Flake of Snowflake ruling over the 3/4 of the state's population in metro Phoenix. Then there's the mouthbreather in Lake Havasu deciding how the millions in metro Phoenix should move from point A to point B. The sooner the yee-haw crowd acquieses to the people who represent the majority of Arizona, the sooner we are no longer the laughingstock of America. Thank God for the Missippippis of the Country!

Let ALL of our rights be equal to ALL people. That includes marriage and the associated benefits. Why are we wasting time and money to see if "arizona" want to limit marriage to specific gender equations? I say whoever wants to form a family through marriage should be able to do so just like everyone else in our FREE society.

This is great!

We are not going to have your gay agenda forced down our throats. This is not a civil rights issue...this is a civil decency issue.

This is not a voter issue. It is an issue of basic constitutional rights and equality. One of the principals of our founding fathers was protecting the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. This is a major step backwards!

This is exactly how it should be: the people should vote on this issue. It is far too important to be decided by the courts. Every society since the dawn of time that has not acted to protect marriage has disintegrated.

...California has proved that if the public wants to limit marriage to one man, one woman they need to create an amendment. It's funny though that they overreached a few years ago with the one man, one woman and banning civil unions amendment. Most people were uncomfortable with the civil unions part added to it. I think had they had the amendment as one man and one woman alone in '06 it would've passed. I think the public deserves to decide these two issues separately, though. We'll see if their arrogance has soured folks on the one man, one woman amendment too. It wouldn't be a surprise.

My prediction - this admendment will pass in November, be an issue for only about 20 more years, and then be found unconstutional, just like Jim Crow laws & Miscogenation.

Separate is never equal.

A marriage license won't change the living arrangements. Who cares if a gay couple living together has the piece of paper saying it's "marriage?" I sure don't. This is about insurance, benefits, etc., that come with a licensed marriage. If same-sex couples want to live together and share a life together, I say let them. And also let them have the same insurance benefits as any other "couple."

Warren, that is a bit too simplistic. There are non-christian folks that are for this amendment as there are christian people against it.

We as the public are supposed to decide what we will allow to be considered common social norms recognized by the government. If we allow untouchable judges to decide our fates this creates an aristocratic oligarchy ruling entity. One of which we would have very little control over and also an extremely indirect route to affect a balance. Can you imagine a one party rule on all fronts? We almost had it the last 6-7 years and it wasn't pretty.

If it wasn't for judges, the civil rights movement would have never happened. I doubt if the people of the south back then would have said yes for equal rights. Sanctity of marriage? Are you kidding me? That is a marketing phrase at best. What is the REAL fear going on here and whatever happened to taxation without representation?

Come on Arizona. It took you way to long to recognize ML King Day, exactly how will same sex marriage or civil unions impact your life?

We did vote on this in 06'. The people of Arizona voted that they DID NOT want additional bans/restrictions on Gay Marriage. I still don't understand why stopping same sex couples from marrying is the most pressing issue facing our state, country???

This type of legislation should not necessarily be subjected to a popular vote because not all people are educated - and it does not "affect" anyone else other than those seeking a legal marriage with their partners. A gay couple married isn't somehow going to cause acne or bleeding on some homophobe out there.

yea we need this to protect families like the state representative to keep him from hitting his wife. How does this protect families?

This vote and measure should be addressed by both John McCain and Barack Obama. How about some on-the-record responses:

* do they simply support the matter of states to determine marriage law, taking a strict constitutional position and nothing more;

* do they recognize this is currently a states rights matter but condemn the guiding principle behind the measure -- discrimination against a minority by placing a vote before the majority;

* will they cite that this is a matter that will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court and condemn the re-filing of the Federal Marriage Amendment on Friday by the likes of co-sponsors Larry Craig and David Vitter?

The fact is that this matter is on the table and it needs to be defused lest it be framed (again) by the right wing to distract voters from the litany of horrors perpetrated on this country by the Bush Administration.

It's all these folks have, people, take it head on.