Ariz. governor vetoes bill that could allow adoption discrimination against same-sex couples

Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) Staff and Wire Reports

Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.)

Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has vetoed a bill that would have given county attorneys the option instead of a mandate to help with uncontested adoptions.

House Bill 2296 was pushed by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery with the stated intent of freeing up resources for more pressing matters. But the bill in recent weeks has been caught up in the debate over same-sex marriage after Montgomery adopted a policy of not helping gay couples adopt.

The two women at issue were married in California. One gave birth to a child conceived through artificial insemination, and they were seeking to legally establish the other’s parental rights through adoption.

Those efforts were stymied because Arizona law at the time said only a “husband and wife” could jointly adopt a child.

After a federal court struck down Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage last October, the couple sought help from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to complete the adoption but were refused.

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Montgomery spokesman Jerry Cobb said the bill had nothing to do with same-sex marriage and pre-dated the recent controversy.

Ducey, a Republican, said he vetoed the bill Monday because it could reduce the number of adoptions.

Cobb says the law is one of the only Arizona statutes where county attorneys are required to provide services for private citizens.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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