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When copper was booming, so was Bisbee

Bohemian Bisbee Battles Arizona Over Civil Unions UPDATED

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and attorneys for Bisbee have agreed to wording in a new civil union ordinance. Horne has withdrawn his lawsuit, and the Bisbee city council will vote on the canada goose coats on sale new language sometime this summer. The new law doesn’t go quite as far as the original, but could be a blueprint canadian goose jacket for other Arizona municipalities to follow should they wish to show support for same sex unions without provoking a lawsuit from the state government.

canada goose factory sale BISBEE, Ariz. During a session of afternoon cocktails around the patio table in the brightly painted backyard of notorious stand up comedian Doug Stanhope, Melissa Reaves begins to strum an acoustic guitar. She fiddles a bit, settles into a bluesy groove, then starts to sing. In canada goose store a throaty wail, she belts out lyrics that, it turns out, she’s making up on the spot. It’s a bit of party trick, writing songs as she’s performing them. And so she sings about this reporter, in town to write about her; about her partner, Jennifer Garland, who is sitting next to her; and about the gay marriage debate that’s broken out in this quirky little town of 5,500 people about 10 miles from the Mexican border. canada goose factory sale

cheap canada goose uk Reaves and Garland have been together for 13 years. (The band’s song “Bisbee Blue” is about a variety of turquoise named for the town, a byproduct of the area’s copper mines.) If Bisbee’s city council passes a resolution to officially recognize civil unions, as it’s expected to do next month, it will be the first city in Arizona to do so. And Reaves and Garland will be the first gay couple in the canada goose clearance sale state to be “civilly unioned.” cheap canada goose uk

canadian goose jacket “It isn’t something we ever expected after moving here,” says Garland, who paints and works as a server at a local restaurant. “We were just tickled when we heard it might happen,” Reaves chimes in. canadian goose jacket

canada goose coats This all began in March, when recently elected Councilman Gene Conners was talking to a gay friend at a hardware store. “She said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Bisbee could find a way to welcome gay couples to town to get civil unions?’ I had the mayor’s ear a couple weeks later, and we started trying to figure out if there was canada goose deals a way we could do it,” Conners says. canada goose coats

Canada Goose Online “Both Councilman Conners and I live in the ward with the highest LGBT population,” says Bisbee Mayor Adriana Badal. “And proportionally, Bisbee itself has one of the highest gay and lesbian populations in the state. We decided we wanted to do something real. Conners and Badal knew they couldn’t grant rights to same sex couples that the state wouldn’t enforce, but they did come up with an ordinance that granted as many legal protections as a small town could. Bisbee, for example, owns a cemetery, so the ordinance granted the same interment rights to same sex couples and their families that the town gives to heterosexual families. The ordinance also granted same sex families the right to get family passes at the public swimming pool, the right to the same land use permits, and perhaps most significantly visitation rights and power of attorney to make medical decisions at the local hospital. Canada Goose Online

Other cities in Arizona have granted certain rights to same sex couples, but none has gone as far as Bisbee has. The bill passed the city council 5 2. But that vote was only the beginning of a battle that has since put the town in the spotlight.

Canada Goose online For years, Bisbee has had a reputation as a gay friendly enclave in largely conservative Arizona. As the state has made national headlines in recent years for its controversial immigration law and Gov. Jan Brewer (R)’s high profile skirmishes with President Barack Obama, Bisbee Canada Goose sale has stayed under the radar with a live and let live attitude. Now the gay marriage debate is hotter than Arizona asphalt, and Bisbee is in the thick of all of it. Canada Goose online

Bisbee Canada Goose online was built around the Copper Queen copper mine, which for a time was one of the largest such mines in the country. When copper was booming, so was Bisbee. In the early 20th century, the town was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. It even had its own stock exchange the former exchange is now a bar.

The mine itself ceased operation in 1975 when falling copper prices made it unprofitable, but its legacy is everywhere. Most notably, there’s the 300 acre, 900 foot deep hole in the middle of town, known as the Lavender Pit. It’s named after Harry Lavender, Canada Goose Jackets the former manager of the Phelps Dodge Corporation, the company that built it. Holes that big don’t fill up naturally, and filling it now would be prohibitively expensive. And so it remains.

There are also slag piles scattered around town, you can still take tours of the old mine, and the Copper Queen Hotel is buy canada goose jacket cheap allegedly haunted. The town itself is made up of several smaller jurisdictions bunched together, the product of the various ethnically segregated mining camps that over time congealed into Bisbee proper. The more affluent ward canada goose clearance features the mansions where mining executives once lived. The grandest of them the former residence of the mining company president will soon be converted into a treatment center and residence for wounded veterans and their families.

But by the time the mine closed down in the mid 1970s, Bisbee was already in the process of Canada Goose Outlet remaking itself into an enclave for artists, tourists, and retirees. This wasn’t an uncommon destiny for America’s mining towns. Often isolated from other major population centers, mining and gold rush towns tended to either atrophy into ghost towns or were repopulated by people with habits and lifestyles that, if practiced openly, would have made them outcasts in polite society. Jerome, Ariz., is another example. Jerome, like Bisbee, thrived as a copper town in the early 20th century, then became a hippie enclave in the 1970s and 80s. In 1985, the entire town of Jerome was raided by a team Canada Goose Parka of federal and state drug cops, who arrested the police chief, two city council members, and the former mayor on drug charges.

Canada Goose Coats On Sale Today in Bisbee, you’ll find live theater, art festivals, an annual parade of “art cars” (functional automobiles that locals turn into rolling works of art), and among other eclectic businesses, Brian “Legz” Tagalog, a tattoo artist who works entirely with his feet (he was born without arms). Canada Goose Coats On Sale

canada goose clearance sale This confluence of alternative lifestyles has long made Bisbee a welcoming place for gay people. Some businesses here are already planning for what they hope will be an influx of tourism as a result of the town’s support for civil unions, and possible new residents should the ordinance finally become law. canada goose clearance sale

canada goose store One of them is The Shady Dell, a vintage 1950s trailer park that now serves as a quirky motel. The gravel lot features nine faithfully refurbished trailers that tourists can rent for the night, each decked out with authentic 1950s era televisions, furniture, and decor. It’s a campy gay paradise, all the more savory given the irony of gay couples staying in lodging themed to reflect an era when gay couples would have found it difficult to find lodging. canada goose store

Canada Goose Jackets Owner Jenn Luria who is a little bit Donna Reed, a little bit Suicide Girl is more than ready for their patronage. “We already have a lot of gay couples stay here,” Luria says. “In fact, we just hosted a lesbian wedding of sorts earlier this year. They called it ‘my big, fat, illegal, gay wedding.'” Canada Goose Jackets

Stanhope, probably the town’s most famous resident, moved to Bisbee after driving through the town on trips between Los Angeles and El Paso, Texas. (Disclosure: Stanhope is a personal friend.) He stopped in once, was charmed by the place, and eventually moved in with his partner Amy “Bingo” Bingaman. “It’s really laid back here,” Bingaman says. “Very live and let live.”

Canada Goose sale That attitude extends beyond gay marriage. After Arizona voters passed a medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2012, Bisbee became one of the first towns in the state to host a dispensary. The Farmacy opened earlier this year. Canada Goose sale

canada goose uk black friday The town also passed a resolution denouncing SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial anti immigration law. Mayor Badal herself recently traveled across the border to help a non profit group stock stations set up to supply migrants who may be planning to cross the border with food, water, and basic supplies. “However you might feel about immigration, the desert is starting to get hot this time of year,” Badal says. “This is about preventing deaths.” canada goose uk black friday

Badal has also set up a council of border mayors, made up of the heads of towns in Cochise County, Ariz., and towns in Mexico, aimed at promoting tourism, cooperation, and border management. “There’s so much history between these towns. And we’ve found that a lot of times we have more in common with these towns than we do our state capital,” Badal says. “So there’s a lot to be gained from cooperation, and working together toward economic development.”

This all may at first blush sound like a hippie heaven or, say, Rush Limbaugh’s version of hell but the ethos in Bisbee feels more libertarian. Stanhope, who became active in the civil union debate after he’d heard conservative groups were planning to bus protesters in from out of town once flirted with running for president as a member of the Libertarian canada goose black friday sale Party. Badal points out that Bisbee doesn’t just forge its own path on social issues. The town also recently attempted to opt out of a state water initiative that required towns and cities to pay into a state fund, whether they wanted to or not. Bisbee lost that fight, but it reflects more a spirit of localism than traditional progressivism. “But it’s a lot of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ I suppose that’s just human nature. But so is wanting to go your own way.”

When the civil union ordinance passed cheap Canada Goose earlier this month, it made national news, and Badal quickly canada goose outlet began to hear from other towns around Arizona Jerome, Guadalupe, Tempe, Sedona, and Star Valley that wanted to pass something similar. “I had no idea so many other communities would react the way they did,” the mayor says. “They wanted to know what they could do if they could use our ordinance as a template.”

But there was also some resistance. Within 12 hours of the ordinance passing, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne raised concerns that Bisbee had usurped some of the state’s powers, and possibly violated a constitutional amendment passed in 2008 that defined marriage as “only a union of one man and one woman.” Horne threatened to sue to have the new policy overturned.

canada goose black friday sale Badal also encountered resistance from unexpected places. “I’ve lived in Bisbee all my life,” she says. “And some people I’ve known for 40 or 50 years, they just became so hateful. Hate directed at gays and lesbians, and directed at me for doing this. I understand the religious objection to gay marriage. I do. But I just didn’t expect so much anger and hate to come from this.” canada goose black friday sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap Badal, the city attorney, and the city council are now rewriting the ordinance, not to revoke or soften any of the legal rights the town intends to grant, but to make sure there’s no possibility the ordinance could be struck down in court for overreaching. “I don’t mind getting sued. I think this is a conversation we need to have. It’s about dignity. It’s one of the last major civil rights battles. And we’ve received lots of offers for free legal aid if that happens,” Badal says. “But we want to be sure that we’re not sued over language in the bill that we didn’t intend. We don’t want to fight and lose to waste time and money because of the wrong language. If we’re going to get sued, we just want to be sure it’s for the right reasons.” buy canada goose jacket cheap

Arizona may be home to immigration hawks like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and its legislature may be among the most conservative in the country, but there’s also some evidence that the state is more tolerant on social issues than the reputation of its politicians. Badal has already received support from officials in the cities listed buy canada goose jacket above, as well as from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

canada goose coats on sale One poll taken in May of last year found that just under 80 percent of Arizonans (including 63 percent of Republicans) support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples. Another poll taken last month found that 63 percent of the state’s residents supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, with just 19 percent supporting deportation canada goose coats on sale.

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