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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Shawn Aiken's Law Firm Awarded Corporate Equality Award

Shawn Aiken
Shawn Aiken

PHOENIX– 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

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.


The firms response posted on the HRC website:

It began with a simple question.

In December 2013, as Shawn Aiken and his wife arrived at their church in Tempe, Arizona, Joe Connolly, a fellow church member, asked Shawn whether he knew any lawyers who might be interested in challenging Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shawn discussed the case with his family and decided that he did know a firm that would represent Joe and his husband, Terry Pochert: his own.

On January 6, 2014, less than a month later, his law firm, Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi P.C., filed a lawsuit on behalf of Joe, Terry and other Arizona couples, asking to strike all Arizona laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. On October 17, 2014, the Hon. John W. Sedwick ruled that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and that Arizona must recognize all marriages entered into in other states. In just ten months, Aiken Schenk had delivered on its promise. As a result, all Arizonans now have the freedom to marry the person they love.

Aiken Schenk acknowledges the decades of hard work done by the LGBT community – especially Lambda Legal, HRC Arizona, Why Marriage Matters, the ACLU and countless others – that laid the groundwork for Arizona’s (and the nation’s) profound shift on marriage equality.

Aiken Schenk thanks its courageous clients who risked their privacy for the betterment of their community:

  • Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert
  • Chris Devine and Mason Hite
  • Clark Rowley and David Chaney
  • Holly Mitchell and Suzanne Cummins
  • Meagan and Natalie Metz
  • Renee Kaminski and Robin Reece
  • Jeff Ferst and Peter Bramley.

Finally, Aiken Schenk acknowledges the invaluable contributions of the members of the entire legal team, each of whom was instrumental in winning this historic lawsuit against the State of Arizona:

  • Aiken Schenk attorneys Heather Macre and Will Knight
  • Flagstaff co-counsel Mik Jordahl and Ryan Stevens
  • Phoenix-area lawyers Ellen Aiken, Mark Dillon, Susan Bovee and Herb Ely
  • many ASU volunteer law students.

Shawn thanks his family, especially his wife, Lynn, for her constant love and support, and their son, Eric, an ASU law student, and daughter, Ellen, both of whom contributed to the groundbreaking result in this case.

The lawyers at Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi practice in the areas of business litigation, personal injury, estate planning, asset protection, and bankruptcy. The firm celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

Shawn Aiken will be accepting the award on behalf of Aiken Schenk.


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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.

© 2014 Arizona Equality