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Senator Files Ethics Complaint Over Gay Marriage Vote

By John Dickerson

The Arizona Legislature adjourned weeks ago, but the delicious nastiness continues – this time over gay marriage and a thwarted filibuster.

On Monday, the Senate Ethics Committee will convene to hear Phoenix Democrat Ken Cheuvront’s complaint against Surprise Republican Jack Harper.

June 27, just as the legislature was getting ready to call sine die (i.e. last day), the Senate put an initiative on the ballot asking voters whether to ban gay marriage. The measure passed by one vote – a vote Cheuvront and his colleague, Paula Aboud, hoped to avert with a filibuster.

Apparently, they knew GOP-er Pamela Gorman, a sure bet for the ban, was trying to get out of town. She’d flown in especially for the vote, and was eager to get back on a plane.

So the two began to filibuster – a totally legit, if annoying, political tactic.

Cheuvront charges that Harper (with assistance from Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor) cut the Dems discussion short, by turning off the microphones. That, if true, is likely not legit.

The Senate Ethics Committee will begin sorting out the matter on Monday. But you don’t have to take their word for it. You can watch the filibustering and microphone muting for yourself on the Azleg.gov Web site.

From the legislative video archives page, click on “06/27/2008 - Senate Committee of the Whole #1 and Final Reading Part 2.”

Warning: It’s long (what self-respecting filibuster is short?) and it’s not as fast as Law & Order. If you have the patience, though, you can see the shenanigans (from both sides of the aisle) for yourself.

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John Dickerson
Contact: John Dickerson