Gay Couples File Lawsuit Challenging Arizona's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

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Stefano Bolognin via Wikimedia Commons


A group of same-sex couples have filed a federal lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage.

Several Arizona laws outlaw aspects of same-sex marriages in the state, including Proposition 102, passed by voters in 2008, which states that the only recognized marriages in the state are "a union of one man and one woman."

See also:
-Gay Marriage Group Stops Effort to Get "Equal Marriage" on Arizona Ballots

The lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal, a pro-LGBT legal group, on behalf of seven same-sex Arizona couples, plus the surviving spouses from two more couples.

The lawsuit challenges the fact that Arizona law doesn't allow for marriage of same-sex couples, and the fact that out-of-state same-sex marriages aren't recognized.

The lawsuit alleges that the state laws violate the couples' constitutional rights of equal protection under the law, and due process under the law.

The lawsuit points out that same-sex couples in Arizona miss out on more than just a state-sanctioned ceremony. They don't have the same protection as married couples for financial reasons like tax exemptions, nor do they have the same legal recognition for purposes of adoptions, nor do they receive benefits as a family member of an armed-forces veteran, nor do they have care-taking decisions in the case of disaster, nor do they have the same rights to inherit their partner's estate, nor the privilege to not testify against their spouse, among several other legal protections that are afforded to different-sex couples.

The lead plaintiffs, Nelda Majors, 75, and Karen Bailey, 74, of Scottsdale, have been together for more than 55 years, and they've had to worry about several of the aforementioned differences, especially as they've raised two children, now ages 15 and 21.

Majors said the following in a statement issued by Lambda Legal:
Karen and I have been together since 1957. We're a committed, loving family, have raised two amazing girls together, have seen each other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. After five decades together, we want to celebrate and affirm our deep love for each other as other couples do, before our friends and family, through marriage. We're also getting up there in years. I want to know that, should anything happen to me, there would be no question about Karen being allowed to be with me at the hospital, and vice versa. If we were married, there would be no question and we both would feel more secure.
The lawsuit -- which you can read here -- details some of the problems each of the same-sex couples have run into due to their inability to have a recognized marriage in Arizona.

"Arizona's ban on marriage for same-sex couples serves no legitimate state interest, brands these loving couples and their children as second-class citizens, and encourages private bias and discrimination," Lambda Legal attorney Jennifer Pizer says in a statement. "And because the State does not even offer a lesser status such as civil union or domestic partnership, these loving couples live every day with the uncertainty that their families and relationships lack even basic protections."

And, yet again, we'll tell you that you'll never guess which lobbying organization pushed that proposition banning same-sex marriage in Arizona: the Center for Arizona Policy.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.


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117 comments
Ollie's Project Free ART
Ollie's Project Free ART

I truly wish we were evolved enough not to even have to keep asking this ridiculous question :-p

James Thompson
James Thompson

Gay marriage and marijuana, both need to be legal in Arizona!

Ten Bears
Ten Bears

illegal read your message from GOD what will he destroy what did he destroy? In the new testament there are 8 death sentences HOMO is 1 of them as it is "detestible" to Him; by your not putting them in their place, YOU SENTENCE ALL OF THE USA TO A DEATH SENTENCE! Not all will die but should their indiscretions poison those who spit on it?

Linda Gibson
Linda Gibson

No one has the right to tell me how to live my life, so what gives me the right to do that to others?! Live and let live..

Stephanie Aguilera
Stephanie Aguilera

Legal! Who are we to judge who someone loves. You're not involved in their personal life ! you're living you're own life! Let gay people live their own too! Why does this have to be a big deal. Its all blown out of proportion!

Amy Leuck-Mullins
Amy Leuck-Mullins

Hopefully it'll be seen as unconstitutional as it's been in other states.

Kari Infantino
Kari Infantino

LEGAL!!! GAY PEOPLE PAY TAXES LIKE EVERYBODY. WHY SHOULD THEY BE DENIED THE SAME RIGHTS AS EVERYO NE ELSE ENJOYS

Tracy McGill
Tracy McGill

Legal...for a couple reasons… A. Every citizen should be treated equally. 2. It's nobody's business what people do in their bedrooms.

Benne Rex
Benne Rex

At the very least some sort of Legal Protections should be extended to same sex folks that have pledged themselves to each other - whether you wanna call it "marriage" or "civil union" or "Godzilla cookies" hardly matters imo at least but I'm a good secular humanist.

John Taylor
John Taylor

We need to protect Marriage because over 50% of them fail! ;)

Tammy Ross
Tammy Ross

i cant belive this is still an issue remind me ?whos forfathers fought for ourAmerican freedoms was it those who would have straight decendents only Hell No!!! so why are some people still trying to control the civil rites of others??? its a big state and world we all fit in=)

Jonathan Joseph Baker
Jonathan Joseph Baker

Do people still not know "marriage" is a sham anyway. Gay/straight, who gives a shit? The whole idea is absurd.

Finy Fox
Finy Fox

legalize it!!! c'mon az get with the times!

Jimmie Gregory
Jimmie Gregory

Nope DON'T suck to be me, cause soon, ill have the same rights as you Edward Green!!!!

Ritsuko T Lazarus
Ritsuko T Lazarus

Eventually, it will be legal for gay/lesbian folks to marry in every state. I hope I will live to see it!!! I'm hopeful that I will.

Michael Herrera
Michael Herrera

This is a dead issue, it seems to me it really does not matter what we think, the lobbyist decide what is law anymore.. Just stop throwing it in everyone's face!!

Cameron Selogie
Cameron Selogie

separation of church and state. One person's religious beliefs have no relevance to law other than their own personal freedoms. Why is this even a question? Same-sex marriage violates NO ONE's Constitutional rights. Allow it and move on.

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

youre only married because long ago, a religious institution decided to create a bond between a man and woman that would be beneficial between two tribes or families. youre only legally married so you can rake more in when you file. it all comes down to money, no matter which you cut it, whether it be gay or straight.

Kimberly Lawrence-Haslett
Kimberly Lawrence-Haslett

this is a civil rights issue nothing more. Government should in no way be involved in religious issues.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

And another bigoted law bites the dust....


and that is what is going to happen here folks.... the days of bigotry in our laws, the days of bigotry in our society are over, we are just waiting for the rest of you Grumpy Old Phucks to finish dying off so the rest of us can get on without the bigotry you bring

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

if marriage is a legally recognized contract, by law, its only for tax purposes. so, its still and always has been a religious contract. if church and state had been kept seperate, like it should be, this issue couldnt be debated.

Edward Anthony Green
Edward Anthony Green

No its sucks to be you Jimmie.....and I suggest you "Tread Lightly" I have the Constitutional Rights to voice my opinions just as you do.....and I demand respect whether you agree with me or not., I will allow you the same courtesy..... but I will not stand for directed insults because of my views.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

thats my take..pay the same taxes, get the same rights. 

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

lol you wish kid..its going to be legal by 2020. bet me on that

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

thats what most of us will be saying when its legal in the entire country. Most of us feel gays pay the same taxes, and should get the same protections and rights. If the GOP doesnt want to recognize that, then they should make it so gays dont have to pay taxes. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Wrong.  There are many aspects to marriage.  Married couples have many legal rights that others don't.  The religious aspect is no more important in marriage than it is to a family of atheists hiding eggs on Easter Sunday.  

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