John M. Becker

BREAKING: Arizona Marriage Ban Struck Down

Filed By John M. Becker | October 17, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Arizona, gay marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

arizona-rainbow-flag.jpgA federal judge appointed by former President George H.W. Bush has just struck down Arizona's marriage discrimination amendment, BuzzFeed reports:

Arizona's ban on same-sex couples' marriages is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down the state's ban based on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision striking down Idaho and Nevada's similar bans. Additionally, he refused to grant a stay of his opinion, meaning the decision goes into effect immediately.

From Judge Sedwick's conclusion:

A stay of this decision to allow defendants to appeal is not warranted. It is clear that an appeal to the Ninth Circuit would not succeed. It is also clear -- based on the Supreme Court's denial of petitions of writs of certiorari filed in connection with several circuit court decisions which held that same-sex marriage must be recognized in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin -- that the High Court will turn a deaf ear on any request for relief from the Ninth Circuit's decision.

In documents filed yesterday, Tom Horne, the state's Republican Attorney General, appeared to agree that further appeals would be fruitless and marriage equality was on its way to Arizona, Arizona Central reports:

In legal documents filed Thursday, Republican Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne wrote that he believes a recent appeals-court ruling striking down similar marriage bans in other states applies to Arizona. But he asked U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick to wait to overturn the law until the appeals court issues its legal mandate.

Obviously, Sedwick didn't grant Horne's request.

According to Equality Case Files, both federal cases challenging Arizona's ban (Majors v. Horne and Connolly v. Jeanes) were decided in favor of marriage equality. Both documents are after the break.

This means same-sex couples should soon be able to marry in Arizona, a far-right state that just last February came within a hair's breadth of creating a special "right" to discriminate against LGBT people on the basis of religion. Now, Arizona is the 31st marriage equality state.

Eat your heart out, Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio!

UPDATE: The Arizona Republic has more information on the way things are likely to unfold:

It is now up to Attorney General Tom Horne to decide whether he will appeal or comply and instruct county clerks to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples. After conceding in a court filing Thursday that the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit would apply to Arizona, he's widely expected to do the latter. It's now likely just a question of when.

Horne is expected to have a news conference Monday to announce his decision. His spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, said they are "ethically obligated to consult with their clients" about their next steps first.

Some county clerks, including in Maricopa County, print their own marriage licenses and can change the license wording immediately from man and wife to spouse. Other counties, including Pima County, have licenses pre-printed by outside companies and say they would need a couple of days to order updated licenses.

Aaron Nash, special counsel for the Maricopa County Clerk's Office, said Arizona's clerks will wait for official direction from Horne before issuing any licenses.

Majors v. Horne

2:14-cv-00518 #88 - Arizona (Majors) Order by Equality Case Files

Connolly v. Jeanes

2:14-cv-00024 #88 Arizona (Connolly) Order by Equality Case Files

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