Lamda Legal files second lawsuit challenging Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban

AzEqualEarlier this year in January, four same-sex couples filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Arizona, represented by attorney Shawn Aiken.  Their complaint argues that the federal courts must declare unconstitutional Arizona’s definition of marriage based on the Supreme Court ruling last year in the United States vs. Windsor case that deemed unconstitutional the denial of federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Suit filed to allow same-sex marriages in Arizona. “We’re saying, ‘Look, follow that rationale and make the same declaration as to the law in Arizona,’ ” Aiken said. “It’s that simple.”

Lamda Legal, the legal organization which has successfully litigated same-sex marriage cases across the country, has filed a second lawsuit in Arizona challenging Arizona’s same-sex marriage constitutional ban. With all due respect  to Mr. Aiken, this is the real McCoy. Lambda Legal files federal lawsuit challenging Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban:

Lambda Legal announced Thursday it has filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Arizona on behalf of seven same-sex couples and the surviving spouses of two additional same-sex couples challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal, joined by pro bono co-counsel from Perkins Coie LLP, argues that the Arizona constitutional amendment and state statutes barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“Every day that same-sex couples in Arizona are denied marriage, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of equal dignity and respect,” said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer.

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“Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples serves no legitimate state interest, brands these loving couples and their children as second-class citizens, and encourages private bias and discrimination,” Pizer said. “And because the State does not even offer a lesser status such as civil union or domestic partnership, these loving couples live every day with the uncertainty that their families and relationships lack even basic protections.”

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“Today’s filing represents a critically important step in the ongoing work toward marriage equality in Arizona,” said Rebecca Wininger, Board President, Equality Arizona. “Arizona is justly celebrated for its stunning natural beauty, its artistic communities and its wonderful ethnic and geographic diversity. It is time to add celebration of the rich diversity of couples and families and to welcome fully and equally the families headed by same-sex couples to the security and stability marriage provides.”

Also on Thursday, Lambda Legal announced it has filed a similar challenge in Indiana, and the ACLU filed suit in Florida seeking recognition of legal same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

The Arizona case is Majors v. Horne. Read the complaint Here (pdf).

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