Decision Day: U.S. District Court for Arizona strikes down state’s same-sex marriage ban

Pride-Flag-Thumbnail-Friday-3x2-256x171In breaking news this morning, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick has issued his opinion striking down Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban.The Arizona Republic reports, Ruling OKs gay marriage in Arizona, barring Horne appeal:

Arizona must allow same-sex couples to marry, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick has ruled that a recent appeals court ruling declaring marriage restrictions in other states unconstitutional applies to Arizona.

Read the Opinion HERE (.pdf).

“The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that substantially identical provisions of Nevada and Idaho law that prohibit same-sex marriages are invalid because they deny same-sex couples equal protection of the law, the right to which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States,” Sedwick wrote in his brief ruling. “This court is bound by decisions of the Court of Appeals.”

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.

We will have to wait to see what happens on Monday. Tom Horne should do the right thing and not file an appeal. Just give the go ahead for marriage equality to begin in Arizona next week.

4 responses to “Decision Day: U.S. District Court for Arizona strikes down state’s same-sex marriage ban

  1. We have friends who had to do the CA thing in April…at least it was a good excuse for a great reception that evening! It was a bit of a logistical nightmare, though…

  2. Well, the moral arc of the universe finally bent toward justice in Arizona.
    Congratulations to all my LGBT friends! I wish you joy!
    I’d love to know what Cathy Herrod’s blood pressure was this morning after the ruling was announced. I’ll also be curious what Doug Ducey and the other Republican candidates say about this. Being on the wrong side of history and facts has never stopped them from pandering the the theocrats in the past, but we’ll see if the winds have really changed sometime today.

    • About a third of Republicans (perhaps a bit more) now approve of same sex marriage. With those kinds of numbers, I might expect to see some weak “marriage and family are good” type statements from GOP candidates, but I don’t expect the loud anti-gay marriage rhetoric of a few years ago.

  3. I knew this day was coming, just didn’t know when. Wow, about time for marriage equality in Arizona. We have several gay/lesbian friends who had to drive over to California to get wed. Why Marriage Matters Arizona celebration tonight at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St. 6 p.m.