Same-sex marriage ruling doesn't change Arizona ban - New York News

Same-sex marriage ruling doesn't change Arizona ban

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PHOENIX -

Starting Wednesday, same-sex marriage supporters are gathering signatures, hoping roughly 300,000 Arizona voters sign on in support of gay marriage.

They have a little less than 12 months to get the signatures needed for a ballot initiative.

"For the federal government to recognize us it's a huge step.. unfortunately because our state does not recognize us, it's still a issue here locally," said Melanie Puskar-Blakely.

Now the momentum is growing to change the state law defining marriage between a man and a woman.

Same-sex marriage supporters are taking the first steps -- gathering petition signatures to put a gay marriage initiative on Arizona's 2014 ballot.

"I'm excited to do this and honored to be first signature on your petition for marriage equality," said a supporter.

But gay marriage opponents in the state are far from conceding the battle.

"A key take away from today's Supreme Court rulings is that the court did not find a constitutional nor a civil right to same sex marriage. The Supreme Court did not legalize same sex marriage for all 50 states," said the Center for Arizona Policy's Cathy Herrod.  "..we will make the case for marriage as defined in our State Constitution as the union between a man and a woman."

Still, gay marriage supporters vow to push the initiative to the voters, believing now, more than ever that the state is ready.

"I think the population of Arizona the demographics have changed.. people have had time to get more comfortable with the issue," said a supporter.  "There's still a lot more work to do, but for right now it's a celebration for what we have accomplished."

The petition organizers say the ballot initiative will also say no religious organization is going to be forced to officiate a marriage that goes against its beliefs.

President Obama, whose stance on gay marriage has evolved over the past few years released a statement saying in part, "This was discrimination enshrined in law.  We are a people who declared that we are all created equal and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Phoenix, the first openly bisexual member of Congress, released a statement: "I commit today with my colleagues around the country to continue to fight for the day every child, every couple and every loving family enjoys the same happiness and security as those vindicated in today's ruling."

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