Mike Ward originally supported the new ordinance but felt a change in the wording meant Sedona supported gay marriage rather than civil unions. The original wording states "The mayor and council of the city of Sedona support the right of every person to enter into contractual agreements defining the terms of their relationship with persons of their choice, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties thereto."
The City chose instead to use the Bisbee ordinance which was approved by the Arizona attorney general. The ordinance now states: "The mayor and council of the city of Sedona support the right of every person to enter into a lasting and meaningful relationship with the partner of his or her choice, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties thereto."
Ward felt the ordinance was merely a "symbolic statement" since the state of Arizona does not recognize gay marriage. Ward also said, "At the risk of tweaking the noses of the conservatives that live in this community, I don't think it's worth it."
What many people, including Mr. Ward, fail to understand is that ordinances similar to this one allows people to visit their sick or injured partner in health care facilities plus extends the benefits of city employees to the partner of the employee - something traditional male/female married couples take for granted but is denied to same sex partners.