Marriage Equality USA

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State of Arizona
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Current Status


HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

  • In 2006, voters defeated Proposition 107, which would have added a ban on marriage equality to the state constitution. This was the first time the voters of a U.S. state defeated such a proposal.
  • Unfortunately, a similar ballot proposition, Prop 102, passed in November 2008, and the state constitution was amended.
  • On 17 May 2013, Equal Marriage Arizona filed an initiative to put an amendment on the 2014 ballot which would replace the current definition of marriage with a gender-neutral definition. In September 2013, the initiative was suspended due to a lack of support from another national LGBTQ organization. 
  • 17 October 2014, the AZ constitutional ban on same-sex marriage since 2008, per Arizona Proposition 102, was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick. Sedwick ruled the AZ ban on marriage equality unconstitutional in both pending federal legal cases. See LAWSUITS-RESOLVED below.

Legislation - Pending

None.

Legislation - Enacted

None.

Lawsuits - Pending

Connolly and Majors v. Roche (See Majors v. Jeanes and Connolly v. Roche below)

Case Number: 14-17274
Court Level: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 1 December 2014
Date of Appeal:

Description:

  • 1 December 2014, the parties asked the 9th Circuit to stay proceedings until after final resolution of the 6th Circuit marriage cases currently before the Supreme Court.
  • 2 December 2014, the Court granted the parties' request to put the appeal on hold for now while the Supreme Court considers petitions in 6th Circuit marriage cases. Opening briefs or a status report will be due 25 March 2015.
Majors v. Jeanes (formerly Majors v. Humble and Nelda Majors & Karen Bailey, et al. v. AZ Attorney General Tom Horne)

Case Number: 2:14-cv-00518
Court Level: Federal District Court (9th)
Date Filed: 12 March 2014
Date of Appeal:

Description:

  • 12 March 2014, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit for 7 couples, and the surviving spouses of 2 additional same-gender couples, challenging the AZ 1996 and 1999 laws and the AZ 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.
  • 24 March 2014, plaintiffs asked that their case be (1) merged with Joseph Connolly & Terrel Pochert, et. al., v. Pinal County Superior Court Clerk Chad Roche, and (2) decided by the same judge.
  • 11 April 2014, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint. The primary difference is a change in parties. Equality Arizona is added as a plaintiff; Attorney General is removed and Director of the Dept. of Revenue David Raber is added as a defendant.
  • 15 April 2014, the request that this case be merged with Connolly v. Roche was denied. The case is proceeding. 
  • 28 August 2014, plaintiff George Martinez died. On 2 September 2014, his widower Fred McQuire filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would require the state of Arizona to respect his marriage to his late husband. 
  • 10 September 2014, the defendants filed their opposition to McGuire's request for a TRO.
  • 12 September 2014, the requested TRO was granted to Fred McGuire. 
  • 15 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Reply in Support of Summary Judgment (and opposition to defendants' cross-motion). 
  • 17 October 2014, Judge Sedwick struck down the Arizona ban on marriage equality in BOTH pending federal lawsuits, this one and Connolly (below). 
  • 17 October 2014, AZ Attorney General Will Not Appeal Marriage Ruling – Weddings Start 'Immediately'
  • 17 November 2014, State looks to cut cost of gay marriage court fight - By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Arizona Daily Star/tucson.com
Connolly v. Roche (Joseph Connolly & Terrel Pochert, et. al., v. Pinal County Superior Court Clerk Chad Roche, formerly Connolly v. Brewer)

Case Number: 2:14-cv-00024
Court Level: Federal District Court (9th)
Date Filed: 6 January 2014
Date of Appeal:

Description:

  • 6 January 2014, 4 couples filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging AZ’s 1996 statutory marriage ban and 2008 constitutional marriage ban.
  • 10 February 2014, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint asking for a Permanent Injunction and Declaratory Judgement.
  • 21 April 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion For Summary Judgement.
  • 23 July 2014, the defendants filed a Reply in Support Of Cross Motion For Summary Judgment in which they say that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is justified because same-sex couples cannot reproduce without the help of a third person. The state said its public purpose in regulating private relationships is to ensure that children are, whenever possible, raised by a biological mother and biological father, and that same-sex marriages “do not advance that compelling state interest.” 
  • 9 October 2014, in a docket text order Judge Sedwick indicated it appears the 9th Circuit decision in Latta requires a decision in favor of plaintiffs and set a 16 October 2014 deadline for supplemental briefs.
  • 15 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed their brief on how the Latta ruling should be applied to this case (that the Court should grant the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and deny the defendants' application for a stay).
  • 16 October 2014, the defendants filed their brief on how the applicability of the Latta ruling to this case, noting that there is the "potential" for control if and when a mandate in Latta is issued, but maintaining that since no mandate has been issued, the control doesn't yet exist. 
  • 17 October 2014, Judge Sedwick struck down the Arizona ban on marriage equality in BOTH pending federal lawsuits, this one and Majors (above).
  • 17 October 2014, AZ Attorney General Will Not Appeal Marriage Ruling – Weddings Start 'Immediately'
  • 17 November 2014, State looks to cut cost of gay marriage court fight - By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Arizona Daily Star/tucson.com
  • 1 December 2014, the parties asked the 9th Circuit to stay proceedings until after final resolution of the 6th Circuit marriage cases currently before the Supreme Court.

Lawsuits - Resolved

Beatie v. Beatie

Case Number: 1 CA-CV 13-0209
Date Filed:
Ruling Date:
14 August 2014

Description:

  • Thomas Beatie was born in Hawaii as Tracy Lagondino in 1974. He had sex-reassignment surgery in 2002, took twice-weekly doses of testosterone, and had his breasts surgically removed during his female-to-male transition before legally changing his gender on his passport and Hawaii driver's license.
  • Thomas and Nancy married in 2003 in Hawaii. Nancy was unable to bear children due to a hysterctomy to cure endometriosis. Therefore, the couple decided to artificially inseminate Thomas and for him serve as a surogate, carrying their children. Thomas gave birth to their first child, Susan, in July 2008. Since then, he has given birth to two sons, Austin and Jensen.
  • The couple eventually moved to Arizona. Thomas and Nancy separated in 2012, then sought a divorce which was denied in 2013 when the judge ruled that Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages prevented the marriage from being recognized as valid.
  • On 14 August 2014, a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that Thomas Beatie's marriage to Nancy Beatie in Hawaii in 2003 is considered valid in Arizona and concluded it wasn't a same-sex union. The Arizona Court of Appeals echoed the arguments made in an amicus brief from the Transgender Law Center that because “the right to have children is a liberty interest afforded special constitutional protection”—“one of the basic civil rights of man”—it would not interpret the Arizona or Hawaii gender-change statute as “prohibit[ing] giving birth as a prerequisite to gender redesignation.” The court also held that to deny Thomas Beatie legal recognition as male “would run afoul of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.” 
  • 14 August 2014, VICTORY! Marriages of Transgender People Ruled Valid by Courts in Arizona and California - Article from the Transgender Law Center
Joseph Diaz, et al., v. Janice Brewer, et al.

Case Number: No. 2:09-cv-02402-JWS
Date Filed: November 2009
Ruling Date: 23 December 2013

Description:

  • A federal judge barred enforcement of an AZ law that would withhold health benefits from LGBT employees, their partners, and children.
  • On 6 September 2011, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.
  • 2 July 2012, AZ asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
  • 27 June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Arizona’s appeal of a preliminary injunction suspending the voter-approved benefits ban, so the benefits will remain in effect while the case proceeds.
  • On 23 December 2013, at the plaintiffs' request and with the support of the defendants, the District Court certified the suit as a class action and affirmed the lower court’s decision, expanding the beneficiaries of a decision for the plaintiffs to include all gay and lesbian state employees.
  • 31 October 2014, the parties filed a joint motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction and dismiss the case.

Ballot Initiatives - Pending

None.

Ballot Initiatives - Passed

None.

Polls

  • In a Public Policy Polling poll released 4 March 2014 a majority of Arizona voters approved of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a controversial anti-gay bill, and 49% believed that gay couples should be allowed to marry legally in Arizona. 41% of Arizona voters thought same-sex marriage should not be allowed in Arizona, while 10% were not sure. Poll details
  • 14 May 2013, results of the Behavior Research Center’s Rocky Mountain Poll showed 55% of Arizonans favored allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, while 35% opposed same-sex marriage and 10% said they were unsure. News Source