Life Marriage & Family Religious Liberty

CAP’s Letter to the Bisbee City Council

Posted in Marriage & Family on: April 2nd, 2013
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Bisbee City Attorney
The City of Bisbee
118 Arizona St.
Bisbee, AZ 85603

R.E.: Bisbee does not have authority under Arizona law to authorize civil unions

Dear Bisbee City Attorney:

I write as a representative of Center for Arizona Policy[1] to express my legal opinion concerning the Bisbee City Council’s announced intention to issue civil union certificates. In sum, Bisbee does not have the authority to do this under Arizona law. Rather, this action will be illegal under Arizona law and will result in unnecessary legal expenses for your city.

The City of Bisbee is considering enacting a law that will create marriage-like relationships, and also provide the partners in those relationships the same benefits and responsibilities that are extended to marital partners under Arizona law. The City of Bisbee lacks the authority to do this, and Arizona law forbids the City of Bisbee from taking this step.

The State of Arizona has given itself authority to determine what marriages, and marriage-like relationships, will be recognized in this state.[2] Under Arizona law, “marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited.”[3] Further, the People of Arizona amended the state Constitution in 2008 to add Article XXX, Section 1, which states: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”[4]

Arizona law requires that the charters of charter cities “be consistent with and subject to the state constitution, and not in conflict with the constitution and laws relating to the exercise of the initiative and referendum and other general laws of the state not relating to cities.”[5] As explained above, both the Arizona Constitution and Arizona statutes recognize only the marriages of one man and one woman. The City of Bisbee’s attempt to do an end-run around those laws, by offering a marital-type relationship with the benefits and responsibilities of marriage, is in violation of this state requirement for charter cities.

If the City of Bisbee enacts a law recognizing a quasi-marital relationship not provided for by Arizona law, it will likely find itself involved in expensive and time-consuming litigation, which it is likely to lose.

Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance to you in understanding the City of Bisbee’s obligations and responsibilities under Arizona law.


Josh Kredit, Esq.
Legislative Counsel

[1] Center for Arizona Policy represents the interests of families throughout Arizona and seeks to promote and defend the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.

[2] See 25 Ariz. Rev. Stat., Ch. 1, “Marital and Domestic Relations.”

[3] Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-101.

[4] Ariz. Const. art. XXX, § 1.

[5] Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 9-284.

Posted by Josh Kredit

Josh is Legal Counsel at Center for Arizona Policy. He feels called to use his legal education to advocate for the foundational values CAP advocates for at the state Capitol.

9 Responses

  1. David Howe says:

    Josh: Thanks to you and CAP for encouraging the city of Bisbee to put aside this foolish idea.

  2. Roberta Martin says:

    Thank you for your involvement in and response to this matter concerning the city of Bisbee! Please rest assured that you and CAP have my support !

  3. Grant Torbit says:

    Mr. Josh Kredit,

    Thank you for doing the right thing about this foolish idea.


    Grant Torbit

  4. Bob Hicks says:

    Josh: Your letter is a breath of fresh air. Thankyou.
    More than pleased that you have stood in leadershipfor what CAP and we as Christians should be stating in writing. We only hope other issues that deal with morality and civility are even brought to our attention. It must have been a “in their face” position by the homosexual community, that we even heard from the press about Bisbee. Tucson as a liberal bastion, is probably next where we reside. Since CAP has generally supported our governor, are you willing to call the governor to task as we are over Obama care? We encourage you to stand strong as this is even more important.

  5. yolanda says:

    Thanks Joshua for following Godly and moral statues that this country called America was first birthed on.

  6. Inez Seyller says:

    Thank you so much, Josh, for sharing the letter you sent to the city of Bisbee. Prayers have been answered and I am sure your letter to them as well as many others who wrote have had an impact and have shown them that they were facing insurmountable expenses in defending this decision.

  7. KW says:

    Well-said JAK!

    Succinct, straight up, to the point and polite.
    Good job. May the Creator of marriage bless you with unending success in your righteous endeavors!

  8. Mary says:

    Great job, I am so rejoicing in this victory that makes it a little harder for darkness to take over! I am so proud and appreciative of you love, prayer and great efforts! Praise the Lord for this victory and many many more to come!

  9. Anna Diaz says:

    Great job CAP! Your time and dedication has paid off once again.

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