Arizona Equality Official Website tracking the progress of the complaint
filed against the State of Arizona on January 6, 2014,
for Marriage Equality.

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  New Information on the Website Regarding the Complaint ...

KTAR Marriage Equality Interview with Terry Pochert

Bruce St. James and Pamela HughesBruce St. James and Pamela Hughes from KTAR interviewed Terry Pochert.  Terry along with this husband, Joseph Connolly, were the lead plaintiffs in the 1st lawsuit filed in 2014 to allow Arizona Marriage Quality.  @EqualityRoad @ArizonaEquality ,  You can also follow the history of all the lawsuits throughout the United States at http://roadtoequality.com

Marriage Equality - A GREAT Day for the Kids!

Great Day for the KidsJune 26, 2015, ended up being a great day for the kids as well.  Kids celebrate with their Dads and Moms, knowing their relationships are firm and solid.  There is nothing better than to see families rejoicing in this SCOTUS decision.

Flagstaff Plaintiffs with their Lawyers Celebrate the SCOTUS Decision

FlagstaffThere was excitement in the Flagstaff air after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states. The decision came as Flagstaff got ready to host the annual Pride in the Pines festival today at Thorpe Park, preceded by a Marriage Equality Gathering Friday evening at the Inn at 410. It is the only Pride festival in the state this weekend.

Destination Reached

Joe and TerryToday the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States decided marriage equality cases before them from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Today is a victory for same sex couples. Same sex couple relationships are equal to and deserve the same treatment as opposite-sex couples. The individuals in same sex marriages can now enjoy the same benefits of marriage nationwide that opposite-sex couples seldom even ponder.

It's A Great Day

A Great DayIt's a great day!  With Attorney Heather Macre, David Chane, Clark Rowley, Chris Devine, Mason Hite and their children.

Arizona weighs impact of Supreme Court marriage ruling

AZCentral.comThe U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all states must grant same-sex couples the right to marry. But the 5-4 ruling won't end the debate over the rights of same-sex couples.

In Arizona, where same-sex unions have been legal since late last year, the battle has turned to more than a thousand state statutes that still define marriage as between a man and a woman, from adoption to taxes to property rights. It's also expected to spur a fight over Arizona's lack of discrimination protection for individuals based on gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as a push from the other side to boost protections for individuals and businesses with religious objections.

Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert Featured in 'The Concord'
Terry Pochert and Joe Connolly - Photo by J JohnsonIn January of 2014, Joseph Connolly (above right) and Terry Pochert (above left) were the first couple in Arizona to file a lawsuit to remove the state’s ban on same-gender marriage. In October of that same year, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick did just that, declaring Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, immediately ordering the state not to enforce it.

Best Photos from Arizona Republic's 125 Years
Holly Mitchell, Suzanne CumminsSuzanne Cummins (left) and Holly Mitchel celebrate after exchanging vows at the Arizona Grand Resort in October 2014.  Pat Shannahan / The Republic / azc

Doug Ducey Supports Adoption for Same-sex Couples

Mason Hite-Devine, Chris Hite-DevineAfter the courts ruled that Marriage Equality is legal in Arizona as of October 17, 2014, Mason and Chris who were also among the lead plaintiffs in that lawsuit now fight to make sure they have complete and equal rights as adoptive parents to their three children.

Hundreds of Major US Companies Support Same-Sex Equality

Amicus BriefHundreds of major US Corporation support Marriage Equality and non-discrimination rights for LGBT folks (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered).

Among them is Danaher Corporation (www.danaher.com), parent company of Chandler based Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company, (www.psemc.com),  the employer of one of the lead plaintiffs in Connolly vs. Jeanes, the case that lead the way to marriage equality in Arizona.

Congratulations to all these companies who see this as a justice issue and beneficial to their corporation, employees and families.

Aiken Schenk Attorneys at Law HRC Award
Shawn Aiken - Aiken Schenk Law FirmOur lawyer, Shawn Aiken, receiving the Human Rights Campaign Arizona's Corporate Equality Award on behalf of his firm, Aiken Schenk Attorneys at Law. Shawn and his team fought tirelessly for Marriage Equality here in Arizona. Aiken Schenk thanked the courageous clients who risked their privacy for the betterment of their community: Joe Connolly , Terry Pochert, Chris Hite-Devine, Mason Hite-Devine , Clark Rowley, David Chaney, Holly Mitchell , Suzanne Cummins , Meagan Metz , Natalie Metz, Renee Kaminski, Robin Reece , Jeff Ferst and Peter Bramley. Finally, Aiken Schenk acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the members of the entire legal team, all of whom were instrumental in winning this historic lawsuit against the State of Arizona: Aiken Schenk attorneys Heather Macre and William Knight ; Flagstaff co-counsel Mik Jordahl and Ryan Stevens ; Ellen Aiken, a Scottsdale attorney; and, Phoenix attorneys Mark Dillon, Susan Bovee , and Herb Ely. Shawn thanks his family, especially his wife, Lynn , for her constant love and support; and, his son, Eric, a law student, and daughter, Ellen, both of whom contributed to the result in the case. The award was presented on February 28, 2015, with the HRC Gala co-chairs, Katy June and Bob Jacobson.

Shawn Aiken's Law Firm Awarded Corporate Equality Award

Shawn AikenPHOENIX– The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization,, is proud to announce the awardees for the 11th Annual HRC Arizona Gala Dinner – Aiken Schenk Law Firm as one of the Corporate Equality Award recipients.

Each will be honored at the 11th Annual HRC Arizona Gala Dinner at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa on Feb. 28 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets can be obtained at HRCArizona.org.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Arizona on October 17, 2014. The Aiken Schenk Law Firm  worked tirelessly to achieve those judicial decisions and bring marriage equality to Arizona.  Accepting the award for Aiken Schenk will be Shawn Aiken

Step-Adoption as an Alternative for Gay Couples in Arizona

The Arizona Daily Star on January 25, 2015 writes, '...If one marriage partner is already the legal parent of a child, their spouse can undertake a second adoption proceeding — the step-parent adoption — to get equal custodial rights. For these families, now either parent can make medical decisions for their children, or enroll them in school, and be guaranteed visitation rights if their child was hospitalized. ..."

Arizona House Bill 2188

Joe Connolly and Terry PochertUnder federal law, it's illegal for an employer to discriminate against an individual through acts such as hiring and firing based on race, religion disability, sex and so on.  This does not affect gay rights in Arizona despite roughly 20 states that have passed legislation that does so.

Arizona is one state that still does not provide this equality.

Arizona House Bill 2188 should change that.

Some Christian Churches Say 'Stay Away, We Don't Want You'

Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert with George TakeiSaying no to a couple has consequences beyond forcing them to look for another church. It can cause conflict within a couple who wants to be part of a faith community or house of worship. It may ultimately may result in them leaving, noted Terry Pochert, who married his husband, Joe Connolly, in California in 2008.

“When a church says ‘we don’t want you here,’ what you’re finding is mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are no longer attending that church. In churches that are affirming (of same-sex couples), not just gay people are being welcomed but extended families are starting to come back to church,” Pochert said.

Pochert and Connelly filed suit, Connolly v. Roche, to have their out-of-state wedding recognized by Arizona. Their case, along with Majors v. Jeanes, led to U.S. District Court judge John Sedwick to rule against the state’s ban in October. The defendants in the Connolly case filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in November 2014.

We are No. 2 in the top Twenty Stories

Top 20 Stories - Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyWe live in a moderate sized community just south of Phoenix. We had a blast when Joe and myself were selected as the No. 2 Story in the local Newspaper, Maricopa Monitor. We laughed, though, when the number one story was the building of an overpass. What's more important? Easing the traffic congestion or marriage equality? We are still honored that the community still recognized us in this very conservative city and State. We are proud to be a part of our city.

Top Stories - No. 2 Gay Marriage Legal In Arizona

Year in ReviewIn October, Arizona joined the historic tide of states legalizing the unions of same-sex couples, expanding gay rights in a direction many never thought they would see in their lifetimes.

Echo Magazine - A Faith-Fueled Fight by Liz Massey

Faith Fueled FightJoe Connolly and Terry Pochert are a Valley couple whose legal 2008 California marriage formed the cornerstone for one of the two cases that brought marriage equality to Arizona on Oct. 17.

Their marriage is now considered valid in the eyes of Arizona’s laws, and the lawsuit for which they were the lead plaintiffs (Connolly vs. Jeanes) was based on secular arguments.

But to hear Connolly and Pochert tell it, their decision to take a stand for equal relationship recognition is one deeply rooted in their faith and supported by their faith community

Arizona Files Appeal To Overturn Ruling That Gays Can Marry

Photo by Gage SkidmoreThe Attorney General’s Office is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling that says gays can marry. But its top litigator insists it’s not because he wants to stop same-sex weddings. Attorney General Tom Horne filed a notice Monday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking review of the decision by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick that voided both state law and a voter-approved constitutional provision defining marriage in Arizona as solely between one man and one woman. Since that ruling, gays have been allowed to wed here, and Arizona has recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states. But Robert Ellman, the state’s solicitor general, is telling lawyers for those who sued that they should not be concerned the marriages will stop. Instead, he simply wants to see if there’s a way the state can avoid paying the legal fees of the challengers.

Doc 93 - Notice of Appeal

Doc 93Document 93 - Defendants' Notice of Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Representation Statement.

Arizona and the Navajo Nation

Navajo NationThe future of Florida's marriage ban is hanging in the balance, with a big ruling that could allow marriage to start any day now. Anti-gay groups are still spending tons of money in multiple states, but they're not getting much out of it. And there's an election this week could determine the future of marriage in multiple southwestern states.

Navajo Nation's Marriage Ban May Change

Navajo Jewelry

American Foundation for Equal Rights writes, "It’s been two weeks since marriage was legalized in Arizona, and by now every county in the state has issued at least one marriage license to a gay or lesbian couple. But there’s still a large area of Arizona where LGBTs can’t marry: the Navajo Nation. Marriage equality is banned there, but that could soon change. Navajo Nation presidential candidate Joe Shirley Jr. has supported a repeal of that ban in the past. He faces a vote this Tuesday, November 4th."

CBS5 Reports on Same-sex Couple Adoption with Kevin Patterson and David Lawrence-Patterson

Same sex couples can legally tie the knot now in Arizona but there are still a lot of questions about death and birth rights. One of the big ones: Will gay couples have the same access to adoption as straight couples?

"A same-sex married couple should have the exact same rights to adopt a child or to adopt their spouses child, which is called a step parent adoption, as heterosexual couples were allowed before Oct. 17," said Claudia Work, an attorney with Campbell Law Group in Phoenix

Doc 92 - Notice of Withdrawal of Co-counsel.

Document 92Notice of Withdrawal of Co-counsel.

AZ Daily Sun: A Matter of Rights

MarriageThere were soft smiles on Meagan and Natalie Metz’s faces as they sat next to each other outside the Coconino County Courthouse the morning after a U.S. District Court judge struck down Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. Meagan could hardly take her eyes off Natalie as the two of them reflected on the ruling.

“I can’t help it,” Meagan said with a laugh. “She always gets my attention.”

The couple met in Flagstaff about eight years ago and became friends while they were both dating other women. After both women’s relationships ended, their friendship quickly turned into something more.

Arizona Lawsuit Documents - Timeline

Click the title to view summary of all documents currently filed or received from the court.

Thank You Supporters

Thank You LetterThe following letter has been sent out to all those that have given financial support to our case this past year.  Your generosity has been apprecaited.  Download a PDF copy of the Letter.

Thank You Arizona

An absolutely amazing journey which is going to help thousands of Arizona residents, their families and their children.  THANK YOU ARIZONA!

Thank you Arizon!

Echo Magazine's Photos from Decision Day - October 17, 2014
Echo MagazineLove Wins - Echo Magazine, October 23, 2014. Photos from decision day, October 17, 2014.

The Fight Will Continue

New Times PhoenixUnbeknown to Lambda attorneys, Phoenix attorney Shawn Aiken had been preparing a suit on behalf of several Arizona couples, which he filed on January 6. Aiken's work as an attorney did not revolve around LGBT rights. For him, the issue was personal.

Aiken had attended church with a man named Joe Connolly for more than 15 years. Connolly married his partner, Terry Pochert, in California in 2008.

"We didn't want to become the poster boys of gay marriage," Connolly said. "We just wanted to be a couple who are people of faith who are married. The social-justice issue came out of our church. We decided to do something about this because it was not just about us."

Connolly was concerned about same-sex couples at his church who struggled with adopting children and ensuring that their parental rights were protected. "This is about family," he said.

So, late last year, Connolly approached Aiken, inspired by the litigation filed in other states, and asked Aiken whether he knew attorneys who might be willing to file a similar lawsuit here.

Maricopa Monitor Highlights Joe and Terry Along With First Couple in Pinal County

Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyA lot can change in 24 hours.

If a gay couple stopped by the Clerk of the Superior Court in Pinal County on Oct. 16 to pick up a marriage license, they would have been turned away.

One day later, all it took was $76 for marriage-bound gay and lesbian couples here to obtain a marriage license.

Odette Apodaca, case management director of the Clerk of the Superior Court, said once she receives the news from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (whose staff did indeed send out the go-ahead email Friday morning), her office is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“We have our forms ready,” Apodaca said.

AFER: Three More States Just Won Marriage Equality

We just picked up more states with the freedom to marry, and the number could continue increasing over the course of this week. But in several states, officials are blocking the start of marriage despite courts ruling against their bans. We'll have the details on how couples are fighting back. Plus, more bad news for the National Organization for Marriage. This time it's a ruling in Virginia that means they'll lose out on over half a million dollars.

Lives changed in an instant

WeddingWithin a month, that lawyer, Shawn Aiken, filed a lawsuit with the names of those two men, Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert, in federal court. The suit challenged Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Connolly and Pochert had been together since 1995, and married legally in California in 2008. They wanted their union recognized in the state they called home.

In the months that followed, six other couples would join the case. Another lawsuit would also challenge the ban.

Shocker!

SkyThe sky did not fall.

It's Over: Couples in Lawsuit Elated

Clark and DavidClark Rowley had already settled behind his desk at work Friday morning when an e-mail arrived from a familiar Phoenix law office. Rowley called David Chaney. “It’s over,” he said. “The ban is over.”

Chaney jumped into his car, met Rowley at his office and the two made a beeline for the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court’s Office. Inside of an hour, they clutched an official marriage license, one of the first issued in Arizona after a federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex unions.

Phoenix New Times Coverage of the Celebration

Press ConferenceIn a festive and history-making scene, some of the first legal same-sex weddings in Arizona took place today next to a government building in downtown Phoenix. The small plaza at 6th Avenue and Jackson Street east of the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court Customer Service Center is normally just a place people walk through on the way to obtain court records -- or a marriage license. But after the state's same-sex marriage ban was struck down today, joyous couples purchased licenses and soon took their vows in the public setting to the cheers of a gathering crowd.


Area couple at heart of ruling

Casa Grande DispatchIn the end, it all came down to Judge John Sedwick, a visiting judge from the U.S. District Court in Alaska. Sedwick ruled Friday morning that the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision to strike down gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho also applied to Arizona.

In a somewhat surprising decision mere hours later, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced he would not appeal Sedwick’s verdict.

After the announcement on Friday morning, the couple released a joint statement: “We have longed for this day for years; for ourselves, for others who have gone before us and for those who will come after us. Opponents who blocked marriage equality through local, state and federal laws and through our court system learned today that legislators and the voting population cannot discriminate. The ‘will of the people’ can never trounce on the rights of a minority.”

Local Couple At Heart of Legal Fight In Arizona

Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyWith the expected announcement of Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional just days away, thousands of gay and lesbian couples may soon have the door opened for them to either tie the knot or apply for marriage recognition in the Grand Canyon State.

Same sex marriage in Arizona; judge's decision expected soon

HeatherThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Idaho and Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The question now is whether that ruling means Arizona's ban is unconstitutional as well. The answer is in the hands of a federal judge. Attorney's representing more than two dozen same sex couples and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne had to submit their arguments to the Federal Appeals Court Thursday. The AG in a surprising move said yes, the earlier ruling would apply to Arizona. However, Horne argues that the 9th Circuit Court would still have to hand down a mandate that makes the ruling apply to states in the 9th Circuit.

We Won - Press Release

ThanksWE WON!  Thanks legal team!  Thanks fellow plaintiffs.  Thanks to the community and our supporters!

Press release. (PDF)

Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Celebrate Judge's Ruling

KJZZLesbian and gay couples around Arizona began marrying Friday after a federal judge overturned the state’s ban on marriage between same-sex couples. Advocates gathered Friday night in central Phoenix for a celebration. In front of a packed house at the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ, one of the plaintiffs in a pair of cases that helped end the ban stepped to the podium and said something that before Friday, the state in which he lives didn’t recognize. "Good evening, my name is Joe Connolly, and this is my husband Terry Pochert," he said to a huge cheer.

The DECISION by Judge Sedwick
DecisionThe decision has been decided!  Judge Sedwick gives his Order and Opinion on the Case Joseph Connolly, et al., Plaintiffs, vs. Michael K. jeanes, etc., Defendants.

Robin and Renee Reece Celebrate at Gathering

Robin and Renee ReeseTwo of the plaintiffs in the first lawsuit filed against the State of Arizona celebrate.

Robert Robb, columnist for the Arizona Republic writes on October 21, 2014, "I've been intrigued by the self-congratulatory reactions to a federal judge's decision requiring Arizona to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Politicians and activists refer to it as something "we" accomplished. Others say that it reflects well on Arizona as a state. ..."

HRC Blog - Marriage Equality Coming to Arizona

HRCToday U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick ruled against Arizona’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making Arizona the latest state to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June.  In Connolly v. Jeanes, brought by private counsel, and Majors v. Horne, brought by Lambda Legal, on behalf of same-sex couples, Judge Sedwick rejected Arizona’s ban on marriage equality saying it violated the U.S. Constitution. Judge Sedwick was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

CBS News Live Cut-In on Decision Date

A federal judge in Phoenix has struck down Arizona's gay marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages in the state.

Judge John Sedwick's ruling bars state officials from enforcing a 1996 state law and a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 that outlawed gay married.

Tom Horne/s Letter to the Clerk of the Court
LetterI am writing to inform you that Arizona courts can no longer treat marriage exclusively as "a union of one man and one woman" under Article 30 of the Arizona Constitution .

The Advocate - Arizona Now Has Marriage Equality

Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyA federal judge struck down Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage Friday, refusing to place the ruling on hold while the state considers an appeal.

As a result, Arizona must now allow same-sex couples to marry, reports BuzzFeed, making it the 31st U.S. state where gay, lesbian, and bisexual couples can legally wed. 

On Thursday, the state's attorney general conceded that the ban, approved by voters in 2008, is unconstitutional, according to the Arizona Republic. Shortly after the ruling was issued Friday morning, Republican Attorney General Thom Horne announced that he will not appeal the ruling, reports the Washington Blade.

Defendants File Final Brief

GavelThe defendants in the lawsuit file their final brief.

Plaintiffs' Brief re Application of Latta v. Otter

DocumentOur Final Papers Filed....

In summary in the final paragraph, "Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court grant their motion for summary judgement [Doc. 47]; deny defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment [Doc. 58]; and, immediately enjoin enforcement of Arizona's Marriage Discrimination Laws.  After the decision in Latta, same-sex marriages are now being performed and recognized in thirty of the fifty states, including Nevada, Idaho and Alaska.  The same should finally come true in Arizona."

Arizona gay marriage supporters reinforce case

Gay marriage supporters filed a supporting brief Wednesday to bolster their argument that a federal court should immediately strike down Arizona’s ban on gay marriage and clear the way for legal same-sex unions in the state.

Lawyers representing plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits challenging Arizona’s gay marriage ban said “same-sex marriages are now being performed and recognized in 30 of the 50 states. The same should finally come true in Arizona.”

In a 16-page brief, they asked a U.S. District Court judge to grant their motion for a summary judgment in the case, deny defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment and immediately forbid enforcement of Arizona’s marriage discrimination laws.

Deadline Near For Same-sex Marriage Ruling

Suzanne Cummins and Holly MitchellThe fate of Arizona’s marriage law could be decided this week. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick stated last week that he believes a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling declaring Idaho’s and Nevada’s marriage restrictions unconstitutional applies to Arizona as well.

Suzanne and Holly Celebrate
Suzanne and HollyAs the courts strike down same-sex marriage laws across the nation, it appears Arizona's ban may soon fall as well.

Judge Sedwick's Docket and Text Order
Two documents are now available from the 9th Circuit which may give some insight to what might be happening within the next few days or weeks.

One Week To Respond

The fate of Arizona's marriage law could be decided in a week. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick issued an order Thursday night stating that he believes this week's appellate court ruling declaring Idaho and Nevada's marriage restrictions unconstitutional applies to Arizona, as well. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that Idaho and Nevada's marriage restrictions violated couples' rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Sedwick, an Alaska judge who often helps pick up Arizona cases, gave the parties in two lawsuits challenging Arizona's law until Thursday to file briefs arguing how the 9th Circuit decision does or does not apply.

It's Friday - Nothing Has Changed in Arizona, YET!

Plaintiffs

Lots of rumors are circulating regarding all the recent legislation and news articles over the past few days.

BUT, nothing has yet changed in Arizona (at least as of 10 am, Friday, October 9, 2014).

  • FACT: Judge Sedwick Files Text Order (Text of Order)
  • FACT: We the plaintiffs and the legal team continue to wait.
  • FACT: Marriage Licenses CANNOT be issued in Arizona, yet.
  • FACT: We still must wait for a decision from Judge Sedwick -or-
  • FACT: Mr. Horne could do the right thing as a lawyer, public servant, and human being and stand down.

    ABC News 15 Interviews Suzanne and Holly

    Suzanne and HollyThe marriage debate is heating up in our state. Thousands of signed petitions were hand-delivered to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's Office Thursday. The group behind the signatures wants same-sex marriage legalized immediately. Why Marriage Matters Arizona rounded up a relatively diverse group to deliver the petitions. Several clergy men showed up in support but also gay and lesbian couples. Earlier this week, the ninth circuit court of appeals ruled Nevada’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Arizona falls under that same court.

    Doc 85 - Submit Supplemental Briefs

    Doc 85Doc 85 - Submit Supplemental Briefs - JUDGE SEDWICK TEXT ORDER re: 47 MOTION for Summary Judgment AND 58 MOTION for Summary Judgment. The court has read the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Latta, et al. v. Otter, el al., Ninth Circuit Case No. 14-35420 filed October 7, 2014. It appears that the Latta decision controls the outcome of the cross-motions for summary judgment at dockets 47 and 58 in this case. Latta appears to require that the motion at docket 47 be granted, and the motion at docket 58 be denied. The court invites the parties each to submit a supplemental brief discussing how the Latta decision applies to the motions at dockets 47 and 58. The supplemental briefs should be filed not more than 7 days from the date of this order. This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no PDF document associated with this entry. (JWS) (Entered: 10/09/2014)

    Same-sex Ruling
    Suzanne and HollyArizona same-sex couples could begin marrying in a matter of days after a federal appears court struck down marriage restrictions in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday

    Jeff and Peter on Tucson's KVOA-TV, Channel 4

    Jeff and PeterJust today, a judge in northwest Kansas ordered a county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following actions earlier this week by the U.S. Supreme Court. And two days prior, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down voter approved same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Arizona could be next, as it also falls in the 9th District. "Well, I think it's a step in the right direction," said Jeff Ferst. Ferst and his partner, Peter Bramley, are married, just not here in Arizona. The couple traveled to California one year ago to be able to use the word 'husband.' "Knowing that our marriage isn't acknowledged in Arizona is quite an insult still," said Bramley."

    Plaintiff's Attorney, Heather Macre, Respond to SCOTUS Decision

    Heather MacrePHOENIX -- Arizona's ban on gay marriage appears to be on even thinner ice now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to overturn federal courts that declared bans in five states unconstitutional. Monday's unexpected decision not to hear appeals from Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia means Arizona's efforts to keep its ban in place faces an even tougher battle with federal judges. "It does not have a direct impact on our case," Heather Macre, one of the attorneys working on removing Arizona's ban on gay marriage, told KTAR News' Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Monday. "Obviously, if the Supreme Court decided to take up this issue and made a ruling, it would be the law of land." Despite the ruling not directly impacting Arizona, the ban is still under immediate threat.

    Suzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell Respond to Recent 9th Circuit Ruling

    Suzanne Cummins and Holly MitchellSuzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell chat with Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on KTAR-FM about the recent US 9th Circuit Court Ruling.

    They hope the decision on the Arizona case will come swiftly in time for their upcoming Marriage.

    Peter Bramley and Jeffrey Ferst Respond to SCOTUS Decision

    Jeff and Peter It appears the battles over same sex marriage are coming to an end. 

    The US Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from five states challenging lower court rulings on same sex marriage.

    "This particular part of the battle is almost over I think, " says Peter Bramley who married his partner in Palm Springs, California a year ago this Saturday. "I think everybody acknowledges now that it's only a matter of time."

    Bramley and his partner, Jeffrey Ferst, are part of a class action lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on same sex marriage which holds that "marriage is between one man and one woman."

    Wedding Interrupted by Hateful Rant

    WeddingA gay couple is sharing their story about a dream wedding day that took a hateful tum in Coronado.  From the smiles in the photos, you can see the joy of their wedding day. By the end of the wedding, that joy turned into frustration.  Arizonans Oscar De Las Salas and Gary Jackson - frequent visitors to San Diego - picked Coronado's Centennial Park for their Aug. 17 wedding. Some 30 guests from across the country flew in, including an Arizona congresswoman.

    Channel 12 Coverage of Today's Decision
    Will KnightSeptember 12, 2014 - U. S. District Court Judge John Sedwick granted Lambda Legal plaintiff, Fred McQuire a restraining order against the state of Arizona forcing the state to recognize his California marriage to his partner of over 45 years. George Martinez who passed away in late August. The order also forces the state to list Fred as his surviving spouse on his death certificate. 

    Jeremy Zegas of Why Marriage Matters and Will Knight from Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi who represent the plaintiffs in Connolly v Roche, appear on KPNX Channel 12's Six O'Clock News.  They respond to the recent developments and impact of the ruling by Judge John Sedwick to Lambda Legal's emergency request regarding Fred McQuire and his late partner, George Martinez.

    Thank you Jeremy and Will for your perspectives.

    US 9th Circuit Rules Arizona MUST Recognize Marriage of Same-Sex Couple

    Judge SedwichThe marriage of George Martinez and Fred McQuire, a gay couple married in California, must be recognized in Arizona.

    This decision gives some hope to the plaintiffs in our case on that way the court "may" lean on their case.  Although not certain, other courts and the major change of public opinion may pave the way to a more diverse Arizona and a state that welcomes all people.

    Marriage Equality Events Throughout Arizona

    Flagstaff PrideDecision DayThere will be many Marriage Equality events held throughout Arizona upon the decision of the judge.  We are all hoping that they will be celebrations.

    Regardless of the outcome, these events will still be celebrations as we plan for the future of full inclusive and diversity within our great State of Arizona.

    In addition to the regular Press Conference to be held at our lawyer's offices, there will be other events held by many organizations throughout the state.

    Gay Couples Can't Have Biologically Create Children Therefore...

    John SedwickThe very strange argument put forth by the State of Arizona's lawyers are saying, “namely the natural capacity to create children and to provide those children with their biological mother and biological father.”

    What about the marriages of senior citizens and straight couples that can't biologically have children, etc.   Is the State of Arizona going to tear up and void these marriages also?

    Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Court Hears Arguments Over Gay Marriage's Impact

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in cases involving gay marriage in several states Monday as attorneys argued over how gay marriage would impact families and children. (Sept. 9)

    Ill Gay Veteran Pleads With Judge to Recognize His Marriage

    Jamie Ross of Courthouse News writes on August 27, 2014, "A same-sex couple from Arizona asked a federal judge to recognize their marriage because one is dying of cancer and wants to leave his spouse his military veteran's benefits.  George Martinez and Fred McQuire, who have been together for 45 years, were married in July in California, a month after Martinez, 62, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and told he only has months left to live.  They met in Arizona in 1969 when McQuire was serving in the Air Force, and became a couple a year later.

    Where do candidates for governor stand on gay marriage?

    Andrea Hiland of the Arizona Republic asked the candidates for governor where they stand on the issue of same-sex marriage .

    Voters who support same-sex marriage really should read this article carefully.

    Arizona Couple Asks Federal Judge to Recognize Their Marriage Before One Dies

    JusticeA gay couple from southern Arizona wants a federal judge to immediately order the state to recognize their marriage because one of the men is terminally ill.

    Lawyers for George Martinez and Fred McQuire of Green Valley say the order is needed so McQuire can be recognized as Martinez's survivor when he dies. That will allow him to take care of his affairs and collect larger Veterans Affairs and other benefits.

    Former Arizona Attorney Generals Grant Woods and Terry Goddard Support Gay Marriage

    Grant WoodsTwo former Arizona Attorneys General say they support gay marriage. Republican Grant Woods and Democrat Terry Goddard are part of the group Arizona Lawyers for the Freedom to Marry. The group says gay marriages should be recognized under the law. Woods tells KFYI, "I think it's the civil rights issue of our time."  A lawsuit challenging Arizona's gay marriage ban is making its way through federal court, with a ruling expected to come down soon. Woods says if he was still Attorney General, he wouldn't defend the ban because he believes it is unconstitutional.

    AZ ruling on gay marriage ban expected soon

    Heather MacreA major ruling on same-sex marriage in Arizona is expected any day now.  A lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban is making its way through federal court.  Terry Pochert and Joe Connolly, of Maricopa, are one of seven couples leading the charge to give same-sex couples the right to marry in Arizona.  "To me, it's very simple," said Pochert. "Two people love each other, and are committed to each other for a lifelong relationship.  We just want the same rights that any other couple in a long term relationship would have."  In 2008, Arizona voters amended the state constitution  to include the definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.  Other states did the same

    What if: Court allows same-sex marriage in Arizona?
    MontiniArizona Republic has a short article with opposing points of view.

    When They Stopped Waiting - Article in The Arizona Republic
    Terry Pochert and Joe Connolly

    Shaun McKinnon and his print/video colleague, Patrick Shannahan, from the The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com tell the story of why we are fighting the ban on same sex marriage her in AZ and how it came together. The lawsuit is Connolly v Roche.

    Arizona: Marriage Ban Wasn't Meant to Harm Gay Couples
    The lawyers say the laws barring same-sex couples from marrying in Arizona were not made out of malice, but to protect children and the sanctity of marriages.

    Arizona Now Waits!

    The local newspapers now are reporting on the anticipation of its citizens as the marriage equality lawsuit now sets with the courts.

    We Wait! Connolly vs. Roche now in the Judge's hands

    John W. SedwickAlia Beard Rau, reporter from the Arizona Republic, writes about the status of the two lawsuits filed again the State of Arizona regarding marriage equality in Arizona.  Although the article features photos from the second case, all the papers for the first case were filed with the court on July 21, 2014.  Our case now waits the decision from the judge.

    Arizona points to procreation to defend gay marriage ban

    Attorneys for Arizona have dusted off a vintage argument to defend the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

    Marriage can’t include gay couples, court papers filed Wednesday argue, because “the State regulates marriage for the primary purpose of channeling potentially procreative sexual relationships into enduring unions for the sake of joining children to both their mother and their father.” By that argument, the marriages of the couples challenging the ban do not serve the state’s purpose.

    Arizona cites reproductive ability to support gay marriage ban

    Howard FischerAttorneys for the state are telling a federal judge there's a good reason Arizona won't let gays marry: They can't reproduce, at least not without the help of a third person.

    Defendant Document 77

    Defendants' Motion for Leave to File Overlength Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment

    Defendant Document 77-1

    [Proposed] Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Leave to File Overlength Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.

    Defendant Document 78

    Defendants' Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.

    Meagan and Natalie - Wake Up Arizona! Don't Put Stress in More lives!
    Meagan and Natalie MetzMeagan and Natalie Metz are partners and fellow plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the State of Arizona.  The importance of legalizing their relationship in the State of Arizona is now more important than ever.

    EQ AZ - Redesigned Website
    AZEQ

    A we proceed through the steps of our lawsuit against the State of Arizona and updated within our own ArizonaEquality.org website, there are many organizations within the State of Arizona that are continually fighting for all aspects of LGBTQ inclusion in all areas of social, political and family environments within this great state of Arizona.

    Same-sex couples could soon get leave time in Arizona

    Same-sex couples in Arizona could soon see an expansion of protections if a new proposal is implemented. 

    The United States Department of Labor has introduced a proposal that would change who qualifies under the federal Family and Marriage Leave Act. 

    Public Trial Not Expected in Arizona

    The Daily ReporterLawyers for Arizona and a group of gay and lesbian couples who sued the state over its ban on same-sex marriage want a judge to decide the case without holding a full trial.

    The attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick they believe he can instead rule based on arguments each side will file in the coming months. The lawyers are split on whether oral arguments are needed, with lawyers for Arizona saying none are necessary. Lawyers for the couples want oral arguments to be set for later this year.

    The lawsuit filed by national gay-rights organization Lambda Legal on behalf of seven couples and two surviving spouses argues that the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due-process clauses are violated by the state law barring them from being married. The state of Arizona is fighting the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in March.

    Why It's Important for Marriage Equality in Arizona

    What if tragedy....This is a story by Shane.  It explains why we are fighting so hard for marriage equality right here in Arizona. - The Plaintiffs

    This video was originally released on May 7, 2012, on the one year anniversary of my partner Tom Bridegroom's tragic death. It quickly went viral and led to the feature documentary film, BRIDEGROOM, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2013. The film went on to have its television premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network and is now available on Netflix and iTunes. It has won multiple Audience Awards at film festivals and just recently was awarded the GLAAD New Media Award for Best Documentary.

    But it all started with this video. I believe that by sharing our personal stories, we can change the world. May 7, 2014 marks the third anniversary of Tom's death and in his honor I ask that everyone uploads their own videos, photos, or written stories to social media to help inspire others. You may even save someone's life. Use the hashtag #TapTapTap to join the global conversation.

    Same-sex Marriage Lawsuit & Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice
    Both sides in a lawsuit over Arizona's gay marriage ban want a federal judge to decide the case himself without having to go to full trial. Associated Press reporter Bob Christie, who is covering the issue, will discuss the lawsuit. Newly-appointed Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court Scott Bales will discuss the court and his plan for advancing justice.

    George Takei - A Proud Gay American

    George Takei

    We were fortunate to meet George Takei and his partner Brad Altman at the HRC dinner this past March in Phoenix. A handshake, a hug and a word of encouragement from George and Brad helped make our same sex marriage fight here in Arizona, just a bit easier.  But our struggle pales in comparison to the personal story of Mr. Takei during World War II. Take sixteen minutes of your time to learn about his struggle and how he now fights for equal rights throughout this great land we call home, a land we call America.

    As a child, George Takei, his siblings and parents, all United States citizens, were forced into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, as a "security" measure during World War II. Seventy years later, Takei looks back at how the experience shaped his surprising, personal definition of patriotism and democracy.

    Marriage Update - The State of Marriage - An Interview with Lawyer Shawn Aiken

    Shawn AikenGlenn Guillickson writes in Echo Magazine, "Arizona could soon join the list of states where same-sex marriage bans have been struck down. 

    As judges across the country rule in favor of marriage equality, a decision on a lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage could be just months away.

    But if the ban is struck down, don't expect Arizona gays and lesbians to rush to marry, according to the attorney who has been leading the case.

    Watch the Stories of the Plaintiffs

    CameraWatch the testimonials of all the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.  

    These are real couples, real relationships and real feelings.  

    We hope these videos bring a sense of the importance marriage equality in Arizona means to these couples.

    Simplot and Sinema Working to Help Legalize Gay Marriage

    Kyrsten SinemaEugene Scott in the Arizona Republic writes, "Several high-profile Phoenix residents are working to help the city legalize gay marriage soon.

    Former Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema,D-Ariz., recently attended a gathering at Phoenix's Royal Palms Resort about the Marriage Opportunity Project.

    The October event will bringnational leaders to Washington, D.C., to make proposals to "deepen the meaning of 'marriage equality' ... to include social class as well as sexual orientation."

    Simplot, who represented central Phoenix, was the first openly gay person elected to the Phoenix City Council. And Sinema, who represents part of central Phoenix, was the first openly bisexual person elected to Congress. Both officials have been vocal about their desire to see Phoenix legalize same-sex marriage. ..."

    Alliance Defending Freedom Works to Restrict Religious Liberties

    Joe ConnollyScottsdale, Arizona based Alliance Defending Freedom purports to work “For Faith. For Justice.” as their logo shows. The “About” page of the ADF website shows a “History of Success” where “Since its founding in 1994, Alliance Defending Freedom has made a significant impact for God’s Kingdom through its winning legal efforts to preserve religious freedom for people of faith”.

    Oh, REALLY... At least thirty people see this differently. I suspect more.

    Echo Magazine - Flagstaff Event

    Echo Magazine's Article about Flagstaff Event and the plaintiffs in our lawsuit, Meagan and Natalie Metz.

    Is Gay Couple Going to be Forced to Leave Arizona

    Amid a call for equality for gay marriage across the nation, a Valley couple says they have to leave Arizona to protect their family.

    Dr. Patric and Levi Schine married in August in California. They welcomed twin girls into the world in December. But now they say Arizona state law does not support their family.

    Why Marriage Matters Is Collecting Signature on Petition

    Tom HorneTell Attorney General Horne: Stop defending Arizona's marriage ban!

    As we anticipate a ruling from the Ninth Circuit that could potentially impact Arizona, more historic cases—Connolly v. Roche and Majors v. Horne—is making its way through state court, directly challenging Arizona’s law banning same-sex couples from the freedom to marry.

    This could be the case that brings marriage equality to Arizona once and for all—but only if Attorney General Tom Horne stops defending our state’s harmful marriage ban.

    That's why thousands of Arizonans are calling on AG Hornel to drop their defense of our state’s marriage ban.

    KTAR Interview with Shawn Aiken

    Rob and KarrieRob and Karie on KTAR-FM interview Shawn Aiken, lead attorney.  The interview was held Thursday afternoon, June 26, 2014.

    Father's Day - Gay Latinos Celebrate

    Luis Ortega plans to spend Father’s Day with his son, Robert, at their favorite park – where they will honor the memory of Luis’ late partner and Robert’s other dad, Christian Barco, who died suddenly last year.

    Hard numbers are difficult to come by, but Ortega appears to be one of a small but growing number of adoptive gay parents in Arizona, where advocates had feared that a 2011 law giving preference to married couples would discriminate against gays.

    Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Arizona

    The Williams InstituteIf marriage is extended to same-sex couples in Arizona, the state would see an economic boost as same-sex couples plan their weddings and as their out-of-state guests purchase goods and services in the state. This study estimates the impact on the state’s economy and on state and local sales tax revenue.

     


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    Same-Sex Marriage and ChildrenSame-Sex Marriage and Children is the first book to bring together historical, social science, and legal considerations to comprehensively respond to the objections to same-sex marriage that are based on the need to promote so-called "responsible procreation" and child welfare. Carlos A. Ball places the current marriage debates within a broader historical context by exploring how the procreative and child welfare claims used to try to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to marry are similar to earlier arguments used to defend interracial marriage bans, laws prohibiting disabled individuals from marrying, and the differential treatment of children born out of wedlock. Ball also draws a link between welfare reform and same-sex marriage bans by explaining how conservative proponents have defended both based on the need for the government to promote responsible procreation among heterosexuals. 

    In addition, Ball examines the social science studies relied on by opponents of same-sex marriage and explains in a highly engaging and accessible way why they do not support the contention that biological status and parental gender matter when it comes to parenting. He also explores the relevance of the social science studies on the children of lesbians and gay men to the question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. In doing so, the book looks closely at the gay marriage cases that recently reached the Supreme Court and explains why the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans cannot be defended on the basis that maintaining marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution helps to promote the best interests of children. Same-Sex Marriage and Children will help lawyers, law professors, judges, legislators, social and political scientists, historians, and child welfare officials-as well as general readers interested in matters related to marriage and families-understand the empirical and legal issues behind the intersection of same-sex marriage and children's welfare.


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