Ben Quayle reversed his opposition to a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage late in his campaign.
In a June questionnaire for the Center for Arizona Policy, Quayle did not circle an answer indicating whether he supported or opposed amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit gay marriage.
Instead, he wrote: “Ben supports the Defense of Marriage Act, and believes it is sufficient to protect marriage. Constitutional amendments must be reserved for those issues where it is required.”
But in September, Quayle, the Republican nominee in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, amended the questionnaire. He crossed out his original written answer and said he supports the proposed constitutional amendment.
Quayle spokesman Jay Heiler said he shifted his position because of court rulings against two key anti-gay marriage laws. On July 8, a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress in 1996, was unconstitutional. And in August, federal courts in California overturned Proposition 8, a state-level gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2008.
Heiler said the rulings convinced Quayle that a constitutional amendment was the only way to prohibit gay marriage, and Quayle has made similar statements in interviews and debates.
“The judiciary has really gone against the will of the people,” Quayle said during an Oct. 15 interview on KJZZ. “We really have an out of control judiciary.”
The changed stance on gay marriage came shortly after his Democratic opponent, Jon Hulburd, ran an anti-Quayle ad on a Christian radio network. The ad, titled “Morality,” attacks Quayle over his ties to a racy, sex-themed website.
Heiler said Quayle’s changed opinion had nothing to do with the radio ads or Quayle’s ties to DirtyScottsdale.com, the predecessor to TheDirty.com
“If the fed courts are going to strike down acts of Congress and state plebiscites in a judicial crusade to re-define marriage against the will of the voters, a Constitutional amendment becomes the only means of putting the issue in the hands of the people rather than judges,” Heiler said.