Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich



Attorney General Tom Horne Warns Bisbee City Council: Civil Union Ordinance Unconstitutional

Phoenix (Tuesday, April 2, 2013) – Attorney General Tom Horne has issued a letter to the Bisbee City Council stating that the Civil Union Ordinance, if passed, would be unconstitutional and require the Attorney General’s office to initiate an action in the Courts to enjoin, or stop it.

All three members of the legislature representing Bisbee have expressed deep concerns about the constitutionality of the ordinance.

In a statement today, Attorney General Tom Horne said the following:

“I have today sent a letter to the Bisbee City Attorney and City Council members stating that they have no authority to pass the ordinance that they will be considering tonight.  This is in response to a complaint received from all three state legislators representing Bisbee: Senator Gail Griffin, Representative David Gowan and Representative David Stevens.

The ordinance seeks to change seven separate State statutes within the boundaries of the city, dealing with issues such as community property, inheritance of property, and appointment of personal representatives.  The only proper way to change a statute is through the Legislature, not through actions of the City Council attempting to change a State statute within its boundaries.  I emphasize that I am not expressing any opinion on the policy of the ordinance.  My job is to enforce the laws that exist and I am obligated to respond to complaints from state legislators. 

If the ordinance is passed, the Office will initiate a special action in the Courts to enjoin it.”

A copy of the letter is attached.