Courtney DeMilio and Cynthia Davis have five children and little patience for President Bush’s support of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
"It’s so ludicrous," said Davis, 39, holding one of her twin boys in the living room of their Scottsdale home.
Davis and DeMilio, who got married Feb. 20 in San Francisco, argue that their relationship should enjoy the same respect as any other heterosexual union.
"Don’t try to smother, smear or deface love," DeMilio said.
But such views frustrate conservatives like Len Munsil, president of the Scottsdale-based Center for Arizona Policy.
"That’s not a family," Munsil said when asked about the couple and their children.
Similar debates grew all over the country Tuesday after Bush’s announcement. Meanwhile, a poll released Tuesday by Arizona State University’s KAET-TV (Channel 8) shows same-sex marriages are opposed by Arizonans by a 2-to-1 margin.
Despite Bush’s announcement, the recent issuing of thousands of marriage licenses in San Francisco for same-sex couples and a related Massachusetts court decision in November gives gays and lesbians hope their marriages will someday be recognized throughout the country, said one gay marriage supporter.
"There’s also a certain amount of fear," said attorney Kathie Gummere, a lobbyist for the pro-homosexual Arizona Human Rights Fund. "A constitutional amendment would be horrible."
Gummere and other gayrights supporters called Bush’s announcement a political ploy intended to divide Americans before November’s general election, rather than a serious commitment for a new amendment. Gummere said her immediate concern is to try and defeat proposals in the state legislature that, if passed, would urge the U.S. Congress to pass the amendment.
The House Judiciary Committee voted last week to ask Congress to add a constitutional provision restricting marriage to a man and a woman.
Arizona already has a law which limits marriage to a man and a woman, which is being challenged by two homosexual Phoenix men. Any federal constitutional amendment likely would overrule prior state laws or rulings.
Munsil, who helped write the 1996 state law banning same-sex marriages from being recognized in Arizona, said an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is needed to make sure state law is not overturned someday in court.
Bush’s support of the amendment "is a huge catalyst for the effort," Munsil said. "It’s up to us to preserve what should be obvious."
A written statement issued by Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, a national conservative group based in Scottsdale, said the group is "ecstatic" over Bush’s support of the amendment.
"In Massachusetts we have judges acting like legislators and in California we have a mayor acting like a judge, both usurping the will of the people," Sears wrote.
For couples like Davis and DeMilio, the politics of samesex marriage takes a back seat to the realities of raising a family. Davis had three daughters through a previous marriage when the couple first met four years ago. She stays home while DeMilio works as a sales director for a Phoenix auto theft prevention firm.
Because the family works so well — and have experienced no discrimination to speak of — the couple decided to use an anonymous sperm-bank donor to have more children, they said. DeMilio gave birth to the twins, Rocco and Dominic, in August.
"We dazzle people into respecting us," DeMilio said. "We want everybody to find love and be happy."