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Church State Issues

Arizona senators still don’t back gay marriage

Mar 9, 2014

Arizona Republic

If you ask me U.S. Senator John McCain and U.S. Senator Jeff Flake are entitled to their homophobic religious beliefs that gays are sinners. Even though I don't agree with it.

The reals question is can U.S. Senator John McCain and U.S. Senator Jeff Flake refrain from passing religious laws which force their homophobic hate toward gays on the rest of us.

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy or Cathi Harrod as I have been calling her Personally I think that because religious special interest groups like Cathi Herrod's Center for the Arizona Policy are shovelling big bucks in campaign contributions to politicians to pass laws that force their religious beliefs on the rest of us that won't happen.

Arizona senators still don’t back gay marriage

By Dan Nowicki The Republic | Sat Mar 8, 2014 9:34 PM

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake publicly urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1062, the state’s controversial right-to-refuse-service legislation, but they reiterated Friday that they remain opposed to same-sex marriage.

The two Arizona Republicans attracted national attention for panning the state legislation, which was widely criticized as anti-gay. And last year, they voted in the Senate for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

They maintain their opposition to same-sex marriage is consistent with those positions.

McCain said he opposed SB 1062 because of the dire economic consequences it held for the state.

“It was obvious, the devastating effect it was having on Arizona,” McCain told The Arizona Republic. “I was told, very directly, that the Super Bowl was in play. There already were hundreds of cancellations of hotel reservations. It was going to have a devastating effect on our economy, and it wasn’t necessary.”

Flake also said there has been “no change” in his position on same-sex marriage. He noted that as a U.S. House member he also voted to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“I think it’s been a pretty consistent position,” Flake said. “I think people understand that, too.”

SB 1062 would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could prove they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.” Brewer vetoed the bill on Feb. 26, writing the measure didn’t address “a specific and present concern to Arizona businesses.”

McCain’s daughter, author and commentator Meghan McCain, is an outspoken advocate for same-sex marriage. So far, she has not persuaded her father.

“Look, those are views that my daughter and her friends have, but I still happen to hold the beliefs that I have on this issue,” McCain said. “But I respect the views of others who disagree, whether they be my family or friends or whoever it is. That’s what America is supposed to be about.”

In other developments:

A poll released Thursday by the Democratic polling company Public Policy Polling dubbed McCain the most unpopular U.S. senator in the country. McCain shrugged off the results, pointing to the pollsters’ partisan affiliation.

“It is a liberal Democratic pollster,” McCain told The Republic. “They have a reputation for polls that are totally slanted.”

The automated telephone survey of 870 Arizona voters, conducted Feb. 28 through March 2, indicated 54 percent disapproving of McCain’s job performance, with only 30 percent approving. The other 16 percent was not sure.

In hypothetical matchups, McCain would trail 2012 Democratic Senate nominee Richard Carmona or former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., but would lead former Arizona Gov. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Public Policy Polling survey indicated. McCain has not announced whether he will seek a sixth Senate term in 2016.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

McCain called the poll’s timing “interesting, but not surprising,” coming as he has been in the news as a critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy on Russia and Ukraine.

“I am totally confident that I have the support of the majority of the people of Arizona,” McCain said. “I travel the state constantly, and that is reaffirmed to me every single day.”

Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling director, in turn, dismissed McCain’s criticism. Public Policy Polling, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., holds a vote on its website every week asking what state the company should poll next and Arizona recently won because of all the interest in SB 1062, he said.

“Senator McCain has just pulled off the rare double of antagonizing his party base without winning many friends across party lines, either,” Jensen wrote in an e-mail to The Republic.

Jensen also recalled that his company drew similar complaints from Arizona Republicans when its polls showed that the 2012 Senate race between Flake and Carmona was a toss-up, which it was. Flake won by 3 percentage points.

McCain pushed back against suggestions he has been tough on Obama, who defeated him in the 2008 presidential election, for political reasons. He said he also was among Republican President George W. Bush’s harshest critics for his administration’s handling of the Iraq War and when Russia invaded Georgia.

“I said that (Donald) Rumsfeld, his secretary of Defense, should be fired,” McCain said. “I haven’t gone that far with Obama. Sometimes it’s a little frustrating to me when they say, ‘Oh, you’re just being partisan.’ ”

McCain has expressed concerns about Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his behavior toward Russia’s neighbors since the 2000 presidential race, according to a time line released Friday by his office.

Nowicki is The Republic’s national political reporter. Follow him on Twitter at @dannowicki.