The Arizona State Legislature has cleared the “birther bill”—a bill that would require all future candidates for the nation’s highest office to prove their U.S. citizenship.
The bill—which was approved by a whopping 40-16 vote Thursday—still must be signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer in order to go into effect, a move that would make Arizona the first state to carry out such drastic measures. The bill takes to a whole new level the long-standing argument that Republicans have that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.—he claims he was born in Hawaii—though backers of the bill insist that the measure isn’t directed strictly at the president.
Under the proposed new law, potential candidates would be required to provide a “long-form birth certificate” in order to qualify, though other documents would also be officially accepted, including hospital birth records, a baptismal certificate, even simply a notarized affidavit from at least two people who were witness to the birth. Early census records will also be accepted.
With so many ways to prove your birth to the state, detractors are wondering what the point of it is if not to continue to drag out and showcase some more the debate against the president as he heads into his re-election campaign. They are also adding that it will be another setback to the state of Arizona’s image, which took a hard hit after last year’s controversial illegal immigration legislation.
One of the bill’s supporters, Rep. Carl Seel, stated that it “does nothing more than seek to enforce the provisions set out in the U.S. Constitution, including that the president must be a natural born citizen.”