Tags: arizona | judge | orders | gay | couple

Arizona Told by Judge to Recognize Marriage of Gay Couple

Friday, 12 Sep 2014 05:33 PM

Arizona must recognize the marriage of a gay couple who were wed in California, a federal judge said in the latest ruling striking down state laws prohibiting same- sex unions.

U.S. District Judge John Sedwick in Phoenix, citing numerous rulings in the past year overturning state bans on same-sex marriages, today ordered Arizona to issue a death certificate for a deceased man that says he was married and his surviving spouse is his partner, Fred McQuire.

Thirty federal and state courts have upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry or have their marriages recognized by other states, according to the gay rights group Lambda Legal. Those decisions followed last year’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating a law blocking the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

“Given the wealth of case law holding that state prohibitions on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution, and the absence of any persuasive case law to the contrary, the court concludes that McQuire is likely to prevail on the merits,” Sedwick said.

McQuire married George Martinez in California in July. Martinez died last month and McQuire sued the state to prepare a death certificate that shows they were married at the time of his partner’s death.

Suffer Harm

McQuire won’t be entitled to his late spouse’s Social Security and veteran’s benefits under federal law because they were married less than nine months before Martinez died. Still, the judge said McQuire would suffer harm from the state’s refusal to recognize his marriage because of “the loss of dignity and status coming in the midst of an elderly man’s personal grief.”

Sedwick said his ruling was limited to McQuire and not to other plaintiffs that are part of the case.

“We’re weighing our options,” Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, said in an e-mail.

The case is Majors et al v. Jeanes, 14-cv-00518, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).


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Arizona must recognize the marriage of a gay couple who were wed in California, a federal judge said in the latest ruling striking down state laws prohibiting same- sex unions. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick in Phoenix, citing numerous rulings in the past year overturning...
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Friday, 12 Sep 2014 05:33 PM
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