Will blocking Bisbee's Civil Unions turn off Arizona tourists?

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 3 at 10:00 PM

PHOENIX -- With a vote of five to two Tuesday night, Bisbee's mayor made history, as she and City Council passed the civil unions ordinance.

But overshadowing it all was the warning from Attorney General Tom Horne that he'd stop this before it started. He echoed that Wednesday.

"We'll file an action in court to put a stop to the City Council exceeding their powers," said Horne.

Horne says the city's actions were unconstitutional, and he'll move to sue Bisbee within the week.

Last night, Bisbee's City Attorney called Horne's threat disappointing.

"We aren't undoing the laws of the state of Arizona. We are adopting a recognition of relationships that we will apply within the scope of city government," said Bisbee City Attorney John Mackinnon.  

In the midst of the back and forth, there's concern that fighting Bisbee's decision is hurting the state's reputation.

"The public consensus is that this is a non-issue anymore and that this should just be left alone," said Ben Bethel, who owns The Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix. 

He believes this latest legal battle will leave a bad taste in tourists' mouths.

"People will take their conventions, they will take their businesses and they are going to take their dollars and they will move them to those places instead of Arizona," he said.

But Horne won't leave it alone. He says it's not about the policy, but about state law.

"Statewide matters are dealt with by the legislature and statutes and towns do not have the power to change those statutes within their borders," said Horne.

 

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