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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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!

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.

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."

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.

    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.

    Marriage Equality Conversation in Arizona

    On Friday, June 27, 2014, a community conversation discusses the role of a fair and impartial judiciary as a Flagstaff couple takes their fight for marriage equality to court. Arizona Advocacy Network, a progressive, non-partisan civic engagement organization is hosting the happy hour event, The Fight for Marriage Equality in Arizona: Taking it to the Courts. 

    Marriage Equality Favor Democrats in Coming Elections

    The public increasing endorsement of marriage equality is also favoring the Democrates in the coming elections

    Look Out Arizona!, Gay Marriage Just Might be Inevitable in Arizona

    Laurie Roberts writes in the Arizona Republic, "It's been a good week for those who support same-sex marriage.  

    First, federal judges in Pennsylvania and Oregon struck down their states' bans on same-sex marriage. Now, a new Gallup Poll indicates that 55 percent of Americans support "marriage equality".

    Most telling: 79 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 support legalizing same-sex marriage. That's nearly double the number of young adults who supported it 18 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question."

    Kids React to Gay Marriage

    KidsWith over 16 million hits on YouTube, this video simply speaks for itself.

    The Power of Sharing

    United NationsThe United Nations Free & Equal campaign presents a message on this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Share your story and change hearts and minds -- we are all the foundation for this movement for equality.

    You can watch this video with Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish (as well as Persian) captions by clicking the small, square "CC" button in the bottom of the YouTube screen and selecting language.

    Bisbee, Arizona - Gay Rights Update

    Bisbee, ArizonaGay rights in a small Arizona town just north of the Mexican border.

    Luther on Marriage, for Gay and Straight by Kirsi Stjerna

    Lutheran Theological Seminary at GetysburgSeminary Ridge Review is published by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.  The article below is from the Spring 2014 issue (Volume 16, Number 2).

    Luther on Marriage, for Gay and Straight by Kirsi Stjerna - Kirsi Stjerna is Professor of Reformation Church History and Director of the Institute for Luther Studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and Docent/Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Theology at University of Helsinki. Her degrees are from University of Helsinki and Boston University. In anticipation of the 2017 Luther anniversary, Stjerna serves as one of the general editors for the forthcoming Essential Luther (6 volumes, Fortress Press).

    The Actual Motion for Summary Judgment Available as PDF Downloads

    Special NoticeApril 21, 2014, was a big day for Plaintiffs and Lawyers in the case against the State of Arizona regarding the ban of same-sex marriage.

    You can read the actual Motions as PDFs. CLICK HERE

    PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR LOCAL MEDIA.

    Motion for Summary Judgment Filed on April 21, 2014

    Shawn AikenGay and lesbian couples challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage are asking a federal court for a pretrial ruling in their favor.  The motion asked for summary judgment declaring that the ban violates constitutional protections for due process of law and equal protection under the law.  The lawsuit was filed in Phoenix in March on behalf of seven couples.  The case is one of two Arizona same-sex marriage ban challenges filed this year and pending in federal court in Phoenix.  Lawyers for the state denied that Arizona's ban violates constitutional rights.  Arizona lawmakers approved a state law barring same-sex marriages in 1996, and voters in 2008 amended the Arizona Constitution to include a ban.

    Ruling Sought

    TV 13The case is one of two Arizona same-sex marriage ban challenges filed this year and pending in federal court in Phoenix.  Lawyers for the state deny that Arizona's ban violates constitutional rights.

    Arizona Same-Sex Wedding Bring Planning Disappointments
    Arizona RepublicMegan Finnerty from the Arizona Republic writes, "The headlines, Twitter updates and scrolling TV news tickers could give the impression that gay couples across America are buying his-and-his cake toppers and registering for hers-and-hers hand-towel sets."

    Natalie and Meagan's Intimate Ceremony and Arizona Reception

    Natalie and MeaganWith the Pacific Northwest winds blowing their hair and the Seattle skyline as their backdrop, Arizona-based couple Natalie and Meagan exchanged vows on the very spot Natalie had proposed months earlier. Their intimate ferry ceremony in front of 10 of their closest loved ones was filled with color, love and laughter. Once they returned to their home city of Flagstaff, Ariz., they celebrated with a casual yet classic reception at one of their favorite downtown restaurants.

    Court Denies Request to Merge Additional Lawsuit With Original Lawsuit

    The original lawsuit (Case No. 2:14-cv-00024 JWS) filed against the State of Arizona with the court on January 6, 2014, is slowly making its way through the court system. While this case is actively before Judge John W. Sedwick, a new case (Case No. 2:14-cv-00518 NVW) has been filed by Lamda Legal.  Lamda Legal has asked that the two cases be consolidated into one. For several reasons. the court has issued an Order From Chambers on April 15, 2014 which denied the consolidation. Although the consolidation was denied, the later second case will be transfered to the docket of Judge John W. Sedwick.  This allows both cases to be heard by the same judge, but separately.

    Echo Magazine: ​Second lawsuit

    Echo Magazine

    Pizer said there's nothing inconsistent about filing a lawsuit similar to the one filed earlier this year by Phoenix attorney Shawn Aiken, and suggested that the two groups could collaborate.

    In a telephone interview with Echo Magazine, Aiken said that he was informed of the Lambda Legal lawsuit two days before it was filed. He said the lawsuits outline similar arguments.

    "It never hurts to have a second lawsuit on a question of this importance," Aiken said. He said there's a "genuine interest" in having the two groups work together.

    Meet Arizona Families: Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert

    "If I could marry you, I would ask you right now," Joe Connolly said from across the table to Terry Pochert. The two men exchanged onion rings at that very moment, a silly gesture that meant much more. Despite how much they loved each other, it was 1995, and the thought of same-sex couples having the freedom to marry was a distant dream. Instead, Terry and Joe made a promise to one another that they would live their lives together in love.

    Nearly 19 years later, Terry and Joe are still happily in love, and their dream of being husband and husband has nearly come true. Their love story has come a long way, not unlike the road to marriage equality in Arizona -- but their journey is not over.

    HRC, The Human Rights Campaign, Provides Support for Plaintiffs in Current Lawsuits

    Plaintiffs in Lawsuit Against State of ArizonaThe Human Rights Campaign, the national organization working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights, gathered together in the Phoenix area yesterday during their 2014 Gala.

    Many of the plaintiffs from the two lawsuits currently in front of the Federal 9th Circuit Court attended the event to hear speakers and watch as the community presented awards to many of the Arizona corporate businesses and are fighting for equal rights within the state.

    Lambda Legal Files Motion to Consolidate Recently Filed Case with our Case Filed on January 6, 2014

    Section III of the motion title, "The Court Should Transfer This Case To Judge Sedwick," the motion asks to consolidate the cases to avoid any other orders to avoid unnecessary cost or delay.

    Since both cases call for determinations of substantially the same questions of law, involve a common defendant, and would entail substantial duplication of labor if they are heard by different Judges, the motion is seeking not to cause any delay.

    Arizona Tucson Star Mentions Sister Case Along With Our Clients

    Arizona Daily StarSeven plaintiff couples and the legal team who filed suit on January 6, 2014 to overturn Arizona’s ban on same sex marriage applaud and support the seven plaintiff couples, two surviving spouses and Lambda Legal in their parallel March 13, 2014 filing. Our separate yet parallel efforts to overturn discriminatory Arizona laws targeting the LGBTQ community are a testament to our resolve for our freedom and to fight for equality, for those that can, those who cannot, and those who have gone before us. 

    Shawn Aiken Comments on New Lawsuit

    KTAR.comThe lawsuit is separate from a class-action lawsuit filed by four same-sex couples in January. Phoenix attorney Shawn Aiken, who filed the lawsuit, initially filed it against Horne and Gov. Jan Brewer as well as three Arizona county clerks. He has since dropped Horne and Brewer at the request of Assistant Attorney General Kathleen Sweeney and to avoid a prolonged series of legal motions. He plans to file a motion next month, asking the judge in the case to make a decision about the lawsuit without waiting for a trial. 

    Aiken and his team have expressed support for Lambda Legal's suit, but both said there are no plans to join the two filings. 

    ABC News 15: Lambda Legal Sister Lawsuit

    ABC News 15 - Taking ActionThe Associated Press quotes the lead lawyer, Shawn Aiken, "My attitude is to the extent that if we both succeed, great. If they succeed where we fail, that's good too."

    Arizona Denies Claims

    KTARLawyers for the state of Arizona deny that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates equal-protection and due-process rights.  The state Attorney General's office made the denial in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the ban.  The seven same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit allege the ban violates equal-protection and due-process rights. They also alleged the ban denies them the benefits associated with marriage, such as spousal pension benefits, spousal survivorship rights and the ability to make medical decisions for each other. 

    Arizona House Bill HB 2481: Another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

    Joseph Connolly - JoeCall to Action! One battle was won this week in the defeat of Arizona SB 1062. The war is NOT over! Seriously!  Arizona State Representative Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park has introduced Arizona House Bill HB 2481.

    As a person of faith, I know that any ordained minister, priest or pastor can refuse to marry any couple, straight or gay, for any reason. Government cannot tell a church how to run its ministry. It's called Freedom of Religion. It's in a document called the U. S. Constitution. And the Arizona Constitution cites it as the "supreme law of the land". Rep. Montenegro has sponsored this bill and he himself is a pastor in an Apostolic Church. On the surface it seems innocuous but it too has implications and unintended consequences like SB1062. Initially I was upset that a pastor was writing legislation for himself. Until *I* read the bill.... 

    On the surface, HB 2481 is trying to put "protections" in place for "religious" leaders who may not want to "solemnize a marriage". It is being presented as a bill to protect religious leaders from having to perform marriage they may not want to do. Sound familiar? 

    Video: Tucson couple joins lawsuit to legalize same sex marriage in Arizona

    KGUN-TV, Tucsion, ArizonaAs the SB 1062 battle wages on, another fight is pushing Arizona to the front lines of the gay rights debate. Jeffrey Ferst and Peter Bramley are the seventh same sex couple to join a mass lawsuit, challenging Arizona's ban on same sex marriage. They are the only Tucson couple to do so. "We believe in each other.  We believe in our marriage," said Ferst.  "So it's very easy for us to take this step and go public because somebody needs to do it." That suit was first filed in January. Both Ferst and Bramley say joining the pool of plaintiffs, as SB 1062 comes to a head, underscores the importance of their fight.

    Gov. Brewer's Delay in Action Is Now Causing Conventions to be Pulled from Arizona

    HNBAThe HNBA announced today that it has pulled its 40th Annual Convention previously scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona in September 2015.

    On Monday, February 24th, the HNBA denounced the Arizona legislature’s passage of SB 1062.  The HNBA also called for Governor Jan Brewer to veto the legislation and still hopes that she will do so.  As set forth in its February 24th press release, SB 1062 discriminates against members of Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.  

    The proposed legislation also impacts other citizens that are either traveling through Arizona or that are doing business or have business interests in the state.  Accordingly, the HNBA’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to immediately pull the Annual Convention. 

    Tucson couple joins suit to overturn gay marriage ban

    Arizona Daily StarOn a recent afternoon, a couple walked up to the clerk’s counter at Pima County Superior Court seeking a marriage license. Once there, however, they struggled to fill out the marriage license application because Peter Bramley and Jeffrey Ferst are both men. The state of Arizona doesn’t allow same-sex marriage, nor does it recognize such marriages performed in other states. “They were very nice,” Ferst said of the clerk’s office employees. Bramley, 59, president of a public relations and marketing firm, and Ferst, 58, an artist, first crossed out the word “bride” on the application and replaced it with “groom.” The court’s staff members said they couldn’t accept the document because it had been altered, but offered to let them fill out the form again with one of the men filling in the category for bride. Bramley opted for the designation. However, Ferst and Bramley did not get married at the courthouse that day. The couple have since joined in a lawsuit filed in January that challenges Arizona’s same-sex-marriage ban

    Tucson Couple Joins Lawsuit - Peter Bramley and Jeff Ferst

    KVOA-TVA local couple has joined a federal lawsuit that challenges Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage. Peter Bramley and Jeff erst are joining six other Arizona couples to try and overturn the state's voter-approved law. Back in 2008, more than 56 percent of Arizona voters approved a change to the state constitution, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Bramley and Ferst were married in California last October, but now want Arizona to acknowledge it. "We wanted our marriage to be recognized the same as any other marriage is," Ferst said. The two joined the lawsuit in hopes of overturning Arizona's constitution, which prevents them from enjoying the many benefits of marriage.

    Backlash Against Arizona Anti-Gay Bill

    Video Segment: Backlash Against Arizona Anti-Gay Bill.  Lawsuit against gay parents claiming that such a relationship harms children.

    We Need Your Help Now!

    Without too much fanfare, our state legislator has passed the so-called Religious Freedom Bill.  Under the mask of a mis-leading title, the bill will allow businesses and employers to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of religious belief and sexual orientation.

    Can you call Governor Brewer at 602.542.4331 or 520.628.6580 and ask her not to sign the SB1062/HB2153 bills? 

    The Ungodly View of Religious Freedom

    Arizona RepublicNow comes the latest from the Sue-Us-It-Ain’t-Our-Money Republican-controlled Arizona legislature. The state Senate has passed SB 1062, which simply put would allow business owners to discriminate against gays – and others – under the guise of exercising their religious beliefs. Critics of the legislation call it a “license to discriminate.” That’s understating it. Imagine the potential abuse when anyone in a business can refuse to accommodate a potential customer because doing so somehow infringes on his faith. Only in Arizona would lawmakers pass such an ungodly law in the name of religious freedom.

    3TV Interview with Clark Rowley and David Chaney

    Clark Rowley and David ChaneyNow that the revised complaint has been filed with the State of Arizona, David and Clark explain their reasons for pursuing and working with the other couples for the success of this lawsuit.

    Two Flagstaff couples join same-sex lawsuit

    Arizona Daily sunTwo Flagstaff couples have joined a federal class-action lawsuit seeking to overturn Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    An amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court by two Flagstaff attorneys Monday added Meagan and Natalie Metz, Renee Kaminski and Robin Reece to a lawsuit asking the federal courts to declare Arizona’s laws against same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

    The Metzes, who are legally married in the state of Washington, filed an application in Coconino County Superior Court for an Arizona marriage license so their marriage would be recognized in this state. That application was denied under a law passed by the Arizona Legislature in 1996 that made same-sex marriages the only exception to a state law recognizing legal marriages performed outside Arizona as valid.

     


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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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