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Category: Arizona Equality

This Could Happen in Arizona -

Jack ZawadskiJack and Bob were together for more than 50 years. When Bob died, the funeral home refused to accept his body after learning he was married to Jack. Can you imagine a crueler time to discriminate against a person than when they’re grieving the loss of a spouse?

LGBT Map ARIZONA - Mapping the Distance We Have To Go -

Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. MAP’s work is focused on three primary areas: Policy, Movement Capacity and Effective Messaging.

Arizona Equality - An Evening of Contemplation After Successful Decision of Lawsuit - A pause for reflection.A pause for reflection.

A Message of Tolerance and Lesson for the Citizens of the United States -

Tram / Bus AdvertisementA great message of tolerance in the City of Gothenburg, Sweden.  This message is posted on many of the trams within the city and can serve as a good lesson from us in the United States and the rest of the world.

English translation, "We are from different countries. Believe in different Gods . Have different bodies. Different professions. And fall in love with different people. But here we are all of us in the same tram. Thank you for traveling together!"

Freedom for all Americans - Carl & Deila Mangold, Phoenix, Arizona -

Deila and Carl MangoldAdam Polaski from Freedom for all Americans writes, "Carl Mangold is something of an expert in helping people better understand themselves, their feelings, and the world around them. For more than forty years – even throughout his time working as a Lutheran pastor and social worker – he has provided counseling to people. Often, the people Carl counsels are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender – people, he said, who are “discovering their true identity, or who already knew their identity and were having relationship or employment difficulties.” ..."

Freedom For All Americans - Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert -

Joe Connolly and Terry PochertJoe Connolly wrote for Freedom for all Americans, "January 6, 2014 will be a day my husband Terry Pochert and I will remember for the rest of our lives.

That morning, I accepted a new job. In seven days I would move from contractor status to full time status at an aerospace firm based in Chandler, Arizona. For more than six months, I had been working hard in my contractor role, seeking an eventual full-time job offer, and at last, the company had extended me the opportunity. ..."


Arizona Ordered to Pay $200,000 in Legal Fees - - Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyU.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick has ordered Arizona to pay $200,000 in legal fees in one of the two cases that challenged the state's ban on same-sex couples marrying. And the costs for Arizona to defend its law defining marriage as between only a man and a woman could get much, much higher. The order came in the Connolly vs. Roche case, which attorney Shawn Aiken filed in January 2014 on behalf of several individuals and couples, including Joe Connolly and his husband Terry Pochert.

HRC - Kyrsten Seinema Support Staff -

Kyrsten Sinema Support StaffSupport staff for Kyrsten Sinema prior to the HRC Gala in February 2015.

KTAR Marriage Equality Interview with Terry Pochert -

Bruce St. James and Pamela HughesBruce St. James and Pamela Hughes from KTAR interviewed Terry Pochert.  Terry along with this husband, Joseph Connolly, were the lead plaintiffs in the 1st lawsuit filed in 2014 to allow Arizona Marriage Quality.  @EqualityRoad @ArizonaEquality ,  You can also follow the history of all the lawsuits throughout the United States at

Marriage Equality - A GREAT Day for the Kids! -

Great Day for the KidsJune 26, 2015, ended up being a great day for the kids as well.  Kids celebrate with their Dads and Moms, knowing their relationships are firm and solid.  There is nothing better than to see families rejoicing in this SCOTUS decision.

Flagstaff Plaintiffs with their Lawyers Celebrate the SCOTUS Decision -

FlagstaffThere was excitement in the Flagstaff air after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states. The decision came as Flagstaff got ready to host the annual Pride in the Pines festival today at Thorpe Park, preceded by a Marriage Equality Gathering Friday evening at the Inn at 410. It is the only Pride festival in the state this weekend.

Destination Reached -

Joe and TerryToday the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States decided marriage equality cases before them from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Today is a victory for same sex couples. Same sex couple relationships are equal to and deserve the same treatment as opposite-sex couples. The individuals in same sex marriages can now enjoy the same benefits of marriage nationwide that opposite-sex couples seldom even ponder.

It's A Great Day -

A Great DayIt's a great day!  With Attorney Heather Macre, David Chane, Clark Rowley, Chris Devine, Mason Hite and their children.

Arizona weighs impact of Supreme Court marriage ruling -

AZCentral.comThe U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all states must grant same-sex couples the right to marry. But the 5-4 ruling won't end the debate over the rights of same-sex couples.

In Arizona, where same-sex unions have been legal since late last year, the battle has turned to more than a thousand state statutes that still define marriage as between a man and a woman, from adoption to taxes to property rights. It's also expected to spur a fight over Arizona's lack of discrimination protection for individuals based on gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as a push from the other side to boost protections for individuals and businesses with religious objections.

Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert Featured in 'The Concord' - Terry Pochert and Joe Connolly - Photo by J JohnsonIn January of 2014, Joseph Connolly (above right) and Terry Pochert (above left) were the first couple in Arizona to file a lawsuit to remove the state’s ban on same-gender marriage. In October of that same year, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick did just that, declaring Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, immediately ordering the state not to enforce it.

Best Photos from Arizona Republic's 125 Years - Holly Mitchell, Suzanne CumminsSuzanne Cummins (left) and Holly Mitchel celebrate after exchanging vows at the Arizona Grand Resort in October 2014.  Pat Shannahan / The Republic / azc

Doug Ducey Supports Adoption for Same-sex Couples -

Mason Hite-Devine, Chris Hite-DevineAfter the courts ruled that Marriage Equality is legal in Arizona as of October 17, 2014, Mason and Chris who were also among the lead plaintiffs in that lawsuit now fight to make sure they have complete and equal rights as adoptive parents to their three children.

Hundreds of Major US Companies Support Same-Sex Equality -

Amicus BriefHundreds of major US Corporation support Marriage Equality and non-discrimination rights for LGBT folks (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered).

Among them is Danaher Corporation (, parent company of Chandler based Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company, (,  the employer of one of the lead plaintiffs in Connolly vs. Jeanes, the case that lead the way to marriage equality in Arizona.

Congratulations to all these companies who see this as a justice issue and beneficial to their corporation, employees and families.

Aiken Schenk Attorneys at Law HRC Award - Shawn Aiken - Aiken Schenk Law FirmOur lawyer, Shawn Aiken, receiving the Human Rights Campaign Arizona's Corporate Equality Award on behalf of his firm, Aiken Schenk Attorneys at Law. Shawn and his team fought tirelessly for Marriage Equality here in Arizona. Aiken Schenk thanked the courageous clients who risked their privacy for the betterment of their community: Joe Connolly , Terry Pochert, Chris Hite-Devine, Mason Hite-Devine , Clark Rowley, David Chaney, Holly Mitchell , Suzanne Cummins , Meagan Metz , Natalie Metz, Renee Kaminski, Robin Reece , Jeff Ferst and Peter Bramley. Finally, Aiken Schenk acknowledged the invaluable contributions of the members of the entire legal team, all of whom were instrumental in winning this historic lawsuit against the State of Arizona: Aiken Schenk attorneys Heather Macre and William Knight ; Flagstaff co-counsel Mik Jordahl and Ryan Stevens ; Ellen Aiken, a Scottsdale attorney; and, Phoenix attorneys Mark Dillon, Susan Bovee , and Herb Ely. Shawn thanks his family, especially his wife, Lynn , for her constant love and support; and, his son, Eric, a law student, and daughter, Ellen, both of whom contributed to the result in the case. The award was presented on February 28, 2015, with the HRC Gala co-chairs, Katy June and Bob Jacobson.

Echo Magazine - February 26, 2015 - Corporate Equality Award – Aiken Schenk Law Firm - Aiken Schenk Law FirmHRC Arizona will honor the law firms that represented plaintiffs in both of the successful lawsuits that brought marriage equality to Arizona Oct. 17, 2014. The Aiken Schenk Law Firm, led by attorney Shawn Aiken, represented clients in the case Connolly vs. Roche, and Lambda Legal, which has served Arizona’s LGBT community through its Western Office for 25 years, pursued the case Majors vs. Jeanes.

Shawn Aiken's Law Firm Awarded Corporate Equality Award -

Shawn AikenPHOENIX– The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization,, is proud to announce the awardees for the 11th Annual HRC Arizona Gala Dinner – Aiken Schenk Law Firm as one of the Corporate Equality Award recipients.

Each will be honored at the 11th Annual HRC Arizona Gala Dinner at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa on Feb. 28 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets can be obtained at

Same-sex marriage became legal in Arizona on October 17, 2014. The Aiken Schenk Law Firm  worked tirelessly to achieve those judicial decisions and bring marriage equality to Arizona.  Accepting the award for Aiken Schenk will be Shawn Aiken

Arizona HB 2117 - Marriage Equality Again -

Nothing is simple in the Arizona legislature.

The Arizona constitution was changed by Proposition 102 in 2008 and now the constitution needs to be changed to comply with the courts ruling on Marriage.

Step-Adoption as an Alternative for Gay Couples in Arizona -

The Arizona Daily Star on January 25, 2015 writes, '...If one marriage partner is already the legal parent of a child, their spouse can undertake a second adoption proceeding — the step-parent adoption — to get equal custodial rights. For these families, now either parent can make medical decisions for their children, or enroll them in school, and be guaranteed visitation rights if their child was hospitalized. ..."

Arizona House Bill 2188 -

Joe Connolly and Terry PochertUnder federal law, it's illegal for an employer to discriminate against an individual through acts such as hiring and firing based on race, religion disability, sex and so on.  This does not affect gay rights in Arizona despite roughly 20 states that have passed legislation that does so.

Arizona is one state that still does not provide this equality.

Arizona House Bill 2188 should change that.

Some Christian Churches Say 'Stay Away, We Don't Want You' -

Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert with George TakeiSaying no to a couple has consequences beyond forcing them to look for another church. It can cause conflict within a couple who wants to be part of a faith community or house of worship. It may ultimately may result in them leaving, noted Terry Pochert, who married his husband, Joe Connolly, in California in 2008.

“When a church says ‘we don’t want you here,’ what you’re finding is mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are no longer attending that church. In churches that are affirming (of same-sex couples), not just gay people are being welcomed but extended families are starting to come back to church,” Pochert said.

Pochert and Connelly filed suit, Connolly v. Roche, to have their out-of-state wedding recognized by Arizona. Their case, along with Majors v. Jeanes, led to U.S. District Court judge John Sedwick to rule against the state’s ban in October. The defendants in the Connolly case filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in November 2014.

We are No. 2 in the top Twenty Stories -

Top 20 Stories - Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyWe live in a moderate sized community just south of Phoenix. We had a blast when Joe and myself were selected as the No. 2 Story in the local Newspaper, Maricopa Monitor. We laughed, though, when the number one story was the building of an overpass. What's more important? Easing the traffic congestion or marriage equality? We are still honored that the community still recognized us in this very conservative city and State. We are proud to be a part of our city.

Chronology of Filed documents -

Listing of all documents filed with the State regarding the Arizona Marriage Equality Case.

Top Stories - No. 2 Gay Marriage Legal In Arizona -

Year in ReviewIn October, Arizona joined the historic tide of states legalizing the unions of same-sex couples, expanding gay rights in a direction many never thought they would see in their lifetimes.

Echo Magazine - A Faith-Fueled Fight by Liz Massey -

Faith Fueled FightJoe Connolly and Terry Pochert are a Valley couple whose legal 2008 California marriage formed the cornerstone for one of the two cases that brought marriage equality to Arizona on Oct. 17.

Their marriage is now considered valid in the eyes of Arizona’s laws, and the lawsuit for which they were the lead plaintiffs (Connolly vs. Jeanes) was based on secular arguments.

But to hear Connolly and Pochert tell it, their decision to take a stand for equal relationship recognition is one deeply rooted in their faith and supported by their faith community

Arizona Files Appeal To Overturn Ruling That Gays Can Marry -

Photo by Gage SkidmoreThe Attorney General’s Office is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling that says gays can marry. But its top litigator insists it’s not because he wants to stop same-sex weddings. Attorney General Tom Horne filed a notice Monday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking review of the decision by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick that voided both state law and a voter-approved constitutional provision defining marriage in Arizona as solely between one man and one woman. Since that ruling, gays have been allowed to wed here, and Arizona has recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states. But Robert Ellman, the state’s solicitor general, is telling lawyers for those who sued that they should not be concerned the marriages will stop. Instead, he simply wants to see if there’s a way the state can avoid paying the legal fees of the challengers.

Doc 93 - Notice of Appeal -

Doc 93Document 93 - Defendants' Notice of Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Representation Statement.

Clark and David Featured on Arizona's Why Marriage Matters - Clark Rowley and David ChaneyClark Rowley and David Chaney are amonth the seven plaintiff couples that filed the first lawsuit in Arizona on January 6, 2014, against the State of Arizona for Marriage Equality.

Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix Receive Perfect Scores by the Human Rights Campaign -

Phoenix RallyIn one year, Arizona has gone from being home to one city lauded as a leader in gay civil rights to sporting three municipalities garnering the accolades. In 2013, Phoenix was the only city in Arizona to score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index. The index grades how U.S. municipalities treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. The Human Rights Campaign is a national gay-rights organization. This year, Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix received perfect scores on the 0-100 scale. The cities also were among 23 designated "All Stars," for excelling on matters of equality without relying on state law.

Adoption for Same-Sex Couples in Arizona - About an hour after same-sex couples were granted the right to receive marriage licenses in Arizona last month, Marianne Bayardi said the first thing she was going to do was adopt her daughter

Adoption in Arizona - Now what? -

Echo Magazine writes about one couple right here in Arizona and what's next for their family.  Kara J. Philp writes, "... If you've read the newspaper, turned on the news or scrolled through your preferred social media feed at all in the past three weeks, there is a good chance their dapper dads look familiar. ..."

Arizona and the Navajo Nation -

Navajo NationThe future of Florida's marriage ban is hanging in the balance, with a big ruling that could allow marriage to start any day now. Anti-gay groups are still spending tons of money in multiple states, but they're not getting much out of it. And there's an election this week could determine the future of marriage in multiple southwestern states.

Navajo Nation's Marriage Ban May Change -

Navajo Jewelry

American Foundation for Equal Rights writes, "It’s been two weeks since marriage was legalized in Arizona, and by now every county in the state has issued at least one marriage license to a gay or lesbian couple. But there’s still a large area of Arizona where LGBTs can’t marry: the Navajo Nation. Marriage equality is banned there, but that could soon change. Navajo Nation presidential candidate Joe Shirley Jr. has supported a repeal of that ban in the past. He faces a vote this Tuesday, November 4th."

Arizona Laws Stigmatize LGBT People in the Classroom - Arizona FlagAs of October 2014, there are only eight states * in the United States that will have stigmatizing and discriminatory laws on the books against LGBT people.

CBS5 Reports on Same-sex Couple Adoption with Kevin Patterson and David Lawrence-Patterson -

Same sex couples can legally tie the knot now in Arizona but there are still a lot of questions about death and birth rights. One of the big ones: Will gay couples have the same access to adoption as straight couples?

"A same-sex married couple should have the exact same rights to adopt a child or to adopt their spouses child, which is called a step parent adoption, as heterosexual couples were allowed before Oct. 17," said Claudia Work, an attorney with Campbell Law Group in Phoenix

Doc 92 - Notice of Withdrawal of Co-counsel. -

Document 92Notice of Withdrawal of Co-counsel.

AZ Daily Sun: A Matter of Rights -

MarriageThere were soft smiles on Meagan and Natalie Metz’s faces as they sat next to each other outside the Coconino County Courthouse the morning after a U.S. District Court judge struck down Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. Meagan could hardly take her eyes off Natalie as the two of them reflected on the ruling.

“I can’t help it,” Meagan said with a laugh. “She always gets my attention.”

The couple met in Flagstaff about eight years ago and became friends while they were both dating other women. After both women’s relationships ended, their friendship quickly turned into something more.

Arizona Lawsuit Documents - Timeline -

Click the title to view summary of all documents currently filed or received from the court.

Thank You Supporters -

Thank You LetterThe following letter has been sent out to all those that have given financial support to our case this past year.  Your generosity has been apprecaited.  Download a PDF copy of the Letter.

Thank You Arizona -

An absolutely amazing journey which is going to help thousands of Arizona residents, their families and their children.  THANK YOU ARIZONA!

Thank you Arizon!

Echo Magazine's Photos from Decision Day - October 17, 2014 - Echo MagazineLove Wins - Echo Magazine, October 23, 2014. Photos from decision day, October 17, 2014.

The Fight Will Continue -

New Times PhoenixUnbeknown to Lambda attorneys, Phoenix attorney Shawn Aiken had been preparing a suit on behalf of several Arizona couples, which he filed on January 6. Aiken's work as an attorney did not revolve around LGBT rights. For him, the issue was personal.

Aiken had attended church with a man named Joe Connolly for more than 15 years. Connolly married his partner, Terry Pochert, in California in 2008.

"We didn't want to become the poster boys of gay marriage," Connolly said. "We just wanted to be a couple who are people of faith who are married. The social-justice issue came out of our church. We decided to do something about this because it was not just about us."

Connolly was concerned about same-sex couples at his church who struggled with adopting children and ensuring that their parental rights were protected. "This is about family," he said.

So, late last year, Connolly approached Aiken, inspired by the litigation filed in other states, and asked Aiken whether he knew attorneys who might be willing to file a similar lawsuit here.

Maricopa Monitor Highlights Joe and Terry Along With First Couple in Pinal County -

Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyA lot can change in 24 hours.

If a gay couple stopped by the Clerk of the Superior Court in Pinal County on Oct. 16 to pick up a marriage license, they would have been turned away.

One day later, all it took was $76 for marriage-bound gay and lesbian couples here to obtain a marriage license.

Odette Apodaca, case management director of the Clerk of the Superior Court, said once she receives the news from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (whose staff did indeed send out the go-ahead email Friday morning), her office is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“We have our forms ready,” Apodaca said.

AFER: Three More States Just Won Marriage Equality -

We just picked up more states with the freedom to marry, and the number could continue increasing over the course of this week. But in several states, officials are blocking the start of marriage despite courts ruling against their bans. We'll have the details on how couples are fighting back. Plus, more bad news for the National Organization for Marriage. This time it's a ruling in Virginia that means they'll lose out on over half a million dollars.

Lives changed in an instant -

WeddingWithin a month, that lawyer, Shawn Aiken, filed a lawsuit with the names of those two men, Joe Connolly and Terry Pochert, in federal court. The suit challenged Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Connolly and Pochert had been together since 1995, and married legally in California in 2008. They wanted their union recognized in the state they called home.

In the months that followed, six other couples would join the case. Another lawsuit would also challenge the ban.

Shocker! -

SkyThe sky did not fall.

It's Over: Couples in Lawsuit Elated -

Clark and DavidClark Rowley had already settled behind his desk at work Friday morning when an e-mail arrived from a familiar Phoenix law office. Rowley called David Chaney. “It’s over,” he said. “The ban is over.”

Chaney jumped into his car, met Rowley at his office and the two made a beeline for the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court’s Office. Inside of an hour, they clutched an official marriage license, one of the first issued in Arizona after a federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex unions.

Phoenix New Times Coverage of the Celebration -

Press ConferenceIn a festive and history-making scene, some of the first legal same-sex weddings in Arizona took place today next to a government building in downtown Phoenix. The small plaza at 6th Avenue and Jackson Street east of the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court Customer Service Center is normally just a place people walk through on the way to obtain court records -- or a marriage license. But after the state's same-sex marriage ban was struck down today, joyous couples purchased licenses and soon took their vows in the public setting to the cheers of a gathering crowd.

Area couple at heart of ruling -

Casa Grande DispatchIn the end, it all came down to Judge John Sedwick, a visiting judge from the U.S. District Court in Alaska. Sedwick ruled Friday morning that the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision to strike down gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho also applied to Arizona.

In a somewhat surprising decision mere hours later, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced he would not appeal Sedwick’s verdict.

After the announcement on Friday morning, the couple released a joint statement: “We have longed for this day for years; for ourselves, for others who have gone before us and for those who will come after us. Opponents who blocked marriage equality through local, state and federal laws and through our court system learned today that legislators and the voting population cannot discriminate. The ‘will of the people’ can never trounce on the rights of a minority.”

Local Couple At Heart of Legal Fight In Arizona -

Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyWith the expected announcement of Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional just days away, thousands of gay and lesbian couples may soon have the door opened for them to either tie the knot or apply for marriage recognition in the Grand Canyon State.

Same sex marriage in Arizona; judge's decision expected soon -

HeatherThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Idaho and Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The question now is whether that ruling means Arizona's ban is unconstitutional as well. The answer is in the hands of a federal judge. Attorney's representing more than two dozen same sex couples and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne had to submit their arguments to the Federal Appeals Court Thursday. The AG in a surprising move said yes, the earlier ruling would apply to Arizona. However, Horne argues that the 9th Circuit Court would still have to hand down a mandate that makes the ruling apply to states in the 9th Circuit.

We Won - Press Release -

ThanksWE WON!  Thanks legal team!  Thanks fellow plaintiffs.  Thanks to the community and our supporters!

Press release. (PDF)

Arizona Episcopal Diocese Blesses Same-sex Marriages -

Episcopal Church in ArizonaThe Rt. Rev. Kirk S. Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Arizona has announced that same-sex marriages may be blessed and celebrated in Episcopal churches in Arizona in the wake of today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bishop Smith states that “The people of the Episcopal Church are in the blessing business. We are reminded from the first letter of John to, ‘love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.’” Bishop Smith continues by saying, “It is our practice to study Holy Scripture, Christian tradition and the ongoing leadership of the Holy Spirit bearing fruit in the lives of the people of God. Through this process we have come to a deep appreciation of St. Paul’s words to the Galatians, ‘there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.’”

Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Celebrate Judge's Ruling -

KJZZLesbian and gay couples around Arizona began marrying Friday after a federal judge overturned the state’s ban on marriage between same-sex couples. Advocates gathered Friday night in central Phoenix for a celebration. In front of a packed house at the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ, one of the plaintiffs in a pair of cases that helped end the ban stepped to the podium and said something that before Friday, the state in which he lives didn’t recognize. "Good evening, my name is Joe Connolly, and this is my husband Terry Pochert," he said to a huge cheer.

The DECISION by Judge Sedwick - DecisionThe decision has been decided!  Judge Sedwick gives his Order and Opinion on the Case Joseph Connolly, et al., Plaintiffs, vs. Michael K. jeanes, etc., Defendants.

Robin and Renee Reece Celebrate at Gathering -

Robin and Renee ReeseTwo of the plaintiffs in the first lawsuit filed against the State of Arizona celebrate.

Robert Robb, columnist for the Arizona Republic writes on October 21, 2014, "I've been intrigued by the self-congratulatory reactions to a federal judge's decision requiring Arizona to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Politicians and activists refer to it as something "we" accomplished. Others say that it reflects well on Arizona as a state. ..."

HRC Blog - Marriage Equality Coming to Arizona -

HRCToday U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick ruled against Arizona’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, making Arizona the latest state to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June.  In Connolly v. Jeanes, brought by private counsel, and Majors v. Horne, brought by Lambda Legal, on behalf of same-sex couples, Judge Sedwick rejected Arizona’s ban on marriage equality saying it violated the U.S. Constitution. Judge Sedwick was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

CBS News Live Cut-In on Decision Date -

A federal judge in Phoenix has struck down Arizona's gay marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages in the state.

Judge John Sedwick's ruling bars state officials from enforcing a 1996 state law and a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 that outlawed gay married.

Tom Horne/s Letter to the Clerk of the Court - LetterI am writing to inform you that Arizona courts can no longer treat marriage exclusively as "a union of one man and one woman" under Article 30 of the Arizona Constitution .

The Advocate - Arizona Now Has Marriage Equality -

Terry Pochert and Joe ConnollyA federal judge struck down Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage Friday, refusing to place the ruling on hold while the state considers an appeal.

As a result, Arizona must now allow same-sex couples to marry, reports BuzzFeed, making it the 31st U.S. state where gay, lesbian, and bisexual couples can legally wed. 

On Thursday, the state's attorney general conceded that the ban, approved by voters in 2008, is unconstitutional, according to the Arizona Republic. Shortly after the ruling was issued Friday morning, Republican Attorney General Thom Horne announced that he will not appeal the ruling, reports the Washington Blade.

Defendants File Final Brief -

GavelThe defendants in the lawsuit file their final brief.

Plaintiffs' Brief re Application of Latta v. Otter -

DocumentOur Final Papers Filed....

In summary in the final paragraph, "Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court grant their motion for summary judgement [Doc. 47]; deny defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment [Doc. 58]; and, immediately enjoin enforcement of Arizona's Marriage Discrimination Laws.  After the decision in Latta, same-sex marriages are now being performed and recognized in thirty of the fifty states, including Nevada, Idaho and Alaska.  The same should finally come true in Arizona."

Arizona gay marriage supporters reinforce case -

Gay marriage supporters filed a supporting brief Wednesday to bolster their argument that a federal court should immediately strike down Arizona’s ban on gay marriage and clear the way for legal same-sex unions in the state.

Lawyers representing plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits challenging Arizona’s gay marriage ban said “same-sex marriages are now being performed and recognized in 30 of the 50 states. The same should finally come true in Arizona.”

In a 16-page brief, they asked a U.S. District Court judge to grant their motion for a summary judgment in the case, deny defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment and immediately forbid enforcement of Arizona’s marriage discrimination laws.

Deadline Near For Same-sex Marriage Ruling -

Suzanne Cummins and Holly MitchellThe fate of Arizona’s marriage law could be decided this week. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick stated last week that he believes a 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling declaring Idaho’s and Nevada’s marriage restrictions unconstitutional applies to Arizona as well.

Suzanne and Holly Celebrate - Suzanne and HollyAs the courts strike down same-sex marriage laws across the nation, it appears Arizona's ban may soon fall as well.

Judge Sedwick's Docket and Text Order - Two documents are now available from the 9th Circuit which may give some insight to what might be happening within the next few days or weeks.

One Week To Respond -

The fate of Arizona's marriage law could be decided in a week. U.S. District Judge John Sedwick issued an order Thursday night stating that he believes this week's appellate court ruling declaring Idaho and Nevada's marriage restrictions unconstitutional applies to Arizona, as well. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that Idaho and Nevada's marriage restrictions violated couples' rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Sedwick, an Alaska judge who often helps pick up Arizona cases, gave the parties in two lawsuits challenging Arizona's law until Thursday to file briefs arguing how the 9th Circuit decision does or does not apply.

It's Friday - Nothing Has Changed in Arizona, YET! -


Lots of rumors are circulating regarding all the recent legislation and news articles over the past few days.

BUT, nothing has yet changed in Arizona (at least as of 10 am, Friday, October 9, 2014).

  • FACT: Judge Sedwick Files Text Order (Text of Order)
  • FACT: We the plaintiffs and the legal team continue to wait.
  • FACT: Marriage Licenses CANNOT be issued in Arizona, yet.
  • FACT: We still must wait for a decision from Judge Sedwick -or-
  • FACT: Mr. Horne could do the right thing as a lawyer, public servant, and human being and stand down.

    ABC News 15 Interviews Suzanne and Holly -

    Suzanne and HollyThe marriage debate is heating up in our state. Thousands of signed petitions were hand-delivered to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's Office Thursday. The group behind the signatures wants same-sex marriage legalized immediately. Why Marriage Matters Arizona rounded up a relatively diverse group to deliver the petitions. Several clergy men showed up in support but also gay and lesbian couples. Earlier this week, the ninth circuit court of appeals ruled Nevada’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Arizona falls under that same court.

    Doc 85 - Submit Supplemental Briefs -

    Doc 85Doc 85 - Submit Supplemental Briefs - JUDGE SEDWICK TEXT ORDER re: 47 MOTION for Summary Judgment AND 58 MOTION for Summary Judgment. The court has read the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Latta, et al. v. Otter, el al., Ninth Circuit Case No. 14-35420 filed October 7, 2014. It appears that the Latta decision controls the outcome of the cross-motions for summary judgment at dockets 47 and 58 in this case. Latta appears to require that the motion at docket 47 be granted, and the motion at docket 58 be denied. The court invites the parties each to submit a supplemental brief discussing how the Latta decision applies to the motions at dockets 47 and 58. The supplemental briefs should be filed not more than 7 days from the date of this order. This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no PDF document associated with this entry. (JWS) (Entered: 10/09/2014)

    Same-sex Ruling - Suzanne and HollyArizona same-sex couples could begin marrying in a matter of days after a federal appears court struck down marriage restrictions in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday

    Jeff and Peter on Tucson's KVOA-TV, Channel 4 -

    Jeff and PeterJust today, a judge in northwest Kansas ordered a county to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following actions earlier this week by the U.S. Supreme Court. And two days prior, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down voter approved same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Arizona could be next, as it also falls in the 9th District. "Well, I think it's a step in the right direction," said Jeff Ferst. Ferst and his partner, Peter Bramley, are married, just not here in Arizona. The couple traveled to California one year ago to be able to use the word 'husband.' "Knowing that our marriage isn't acknowledged in Arizona is quite an insult still," said Bramley."

    Plaintiff's Attorney, Heather Macre, Respond to SCOTUS Decision -

    Heather MacrePHOENIX -- Arizona's ban on gay marriage appears to be on even thinner ice now that the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to overturn federal courts that declared bans in five states unconstitutional. Monday's unexpected decision not to hear appeals from Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia means Arizona's efforts to keep its ban in place faces an even tougher battle with federal judges. "It does not have a direct impact on our case," Heather Macre, one of the attorneys working on removing Arizona's ban on gay marriage, told KTAR News' Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Monday. "Obviously, if the Supreme Court decided to take up this issue and made a ruling, it would be the law of land." Despite the ruling not directly impacting Arizona, the ban is still under immediate threat.

    Arizona's Political Machine Still Bucks The Trend - Tom HorneThousands of tax dollars are being spent to fight marriage equality in the State of Arizona. Reckless use of money by pandering to lobby groups who have no interest in seeing diversity and full inclusion of all Arizona citizens.  Help us join with to hold this roadblock accoiuntable.

    9th Circuit Rules in Favor of Marriage in Nevada and Idaho -

    Arizona EqualityThe unanimous opinion, authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt and joined by Judge Marsha Berzon and Judge Ronald Gould.

    Suzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell Respond to Recent 9th Circuit Ruling -

    Suzanne Cummins and Holly MitchellSuzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell chat with Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on KTAR-FM about the recent US 9th Circuit Court Ruling.

    They hope the decision on the Arizona case will come swiftly in time for their upcoming Marriage.

    Peter Bramley and Jeffrey Ferst Respond to SCOTUS Decision -

    Jeff and Peter It appears the battles over same sex marriage are coming to an end. 

    The US Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from five states challenging lower court rulings on same sex marriage.

    "This particular part of the battle is almost over I think, " says Peter Bramley who married his partner in Palm Springs, California a year ago this Saturday. "I think everybody acknowledges now that it's only a matter of time."

    Bramley and his partner, Jeffrey Ferst, are part of a class action lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on same sex marriage which holds that "marriage is between one man and one woman."

    If I Have Gay Children - Jean Ann Esselink writes, "John Pavlovitz is a Christian pastor in North Carolina, but he is not what we have come to expect a Christian pastor in North Carolina to be. He's married and is dad to two small biblically-named kids, (left) Noah and Selah. That's the Pavlovitz picture perfect family portrait above."

    Wedding Interrupted by Hateful Rant -

    WeddingA gay couple is sharing their story about a dream wedding day that took a hateful tum in Coronado.  From the smiles in the photos, you can see the joy of their wedding day. By the end of the wedding, that joy turned into frustration.  Arizonans Oscar De Las Salas and Gary Jackson - frequent visitors to San Diego - picked Coronado's Centennial Park for their Aug. 17 wedding. Some 30 guests from across the country flew in, including an Arizona congresswoman.

    Idaho Resident Denied Veterans Benefits - U.S. House Republicans Continue to Deny Benefits to Gay Veterans, Including Idaho's Madelynn Taylor

    Channel 12 Coverage of Today's Decision - Will KnightSeptember 12, 2014 - U. S. District Court Judge John Sedwick granted Lambda Legal plaintiff, Fred McQuire a restraining order against the state of Arizona forcing the state to recognize his California marriage to his partner of over 45 years. George Martinez who passed away in late August. The order also forces the state to list Fred as his surviving spouse on his death certificate. 

    Jeremy Zegas of Why Marriage Matters and Will Knight from Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi who represent the plaintiffs in Connolly v Roche, appear on KPNX Channel 12's Six O'Clock News.  They respond to the recent developments and impact of the ruling by Judge John Sedwick to Lambda Legal's emergency request regarding Fred McQuire and his late partner, George Martinez.

    Thank you Jeremy and Will for your perspectives.

    US 9th Circuit Rules Arizona MUST Recognize Marriage of Same-Sex Couple -

    Judge SedwichThe marriage of George Martinez and Fred McQuire, a gay couple married in California, must be recognized in Arizona.

    This decision gives some hope to the plaintiffs in our case on that way the court "may" lean on their case.  Although not certain, other courts and the major change of public opinion may pave the way to a more diverse Arizona and a state that welcomes all people.

    Marriage Equality Events Throughout Arizona -

    Flagstaff PrideDecision DayThere will be many Marriage Equality events held throughout Arizona upon the decision of the judge.  We are all hoping that they will be celebrations.

    Regardless of the outcome, these events will still be celebrations as we plan for the future of full inclusive and diversity within our great State of Arizona.

    In addition to the regular Press Conference to be held at our lawyer's offices, there will be other events held by many organizations throughout the state.

    Gay Couples Can't Have Biologically Create Children Therefore... -

    John SedwickThe very strange argument put forth by the State of Arizona's lawyers are saying, “namely the natural capacity to create children and to provide those children with their biological mother and biological father.”

    What about the marriages of senior citizens and straight couples that can't biologically have children, etc.   Is the State of Arizona going to tear up and void these marriages also?

    Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Court Hears Arguments Over Gay Marriage's Impact -

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in cases involving gay marriage in several states Monday as attorneys argued over how gay marriage would impact families and children. (Sept. 9)

    Ill Gay Veteran Pleads With Judge to Recognize His Marriage -

    Jamie Ross of Courthouse News writes on August 27, 2014, "A same-sex couple from Arizona asked a federal judge to recognize their marriage because one is dying of cancer and wants to leave his spouse his military veteran's benefits.  George Martinez and Fred McQuire, who have been together for 45 years, were married in July in California, a month after Martinez, 62, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and told he only has months left to live.  They met in Arizona in 1969 when McQuire was serving in the Air Force, and became a couple a year later.

    Where do candidates for governor stand on gay marriage? -

    Andrea Hiland of the Arizona Republic asked the candidates for governor where they stand on the issue of same-sex marriage .

    Voters who support same-sex marriage really should read this article carefully.

    George Takei - Activist -

    George Takei

    We were fortunate to meet George Takei and his partner Brad Altman at the HRC dinner this past March in Phoenix. A handshake, a hug and a word of encouragement from George and Brad helped make our same sex marriage fight here in Arizona, just a bit easier.  But our struggle pales in comparison to the personal story of Mr. Takei during World War II. Take sixteen minutes of your time to learn about his struggle and how he now fights for equal rights throughout this great land we call home, a land we call America.

    As a child, George Takei, his siblings and parents, all United States citizens, were forced into an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, as a "security" measure during World War II. Seventy years later, Takei looks back at how the experience shaped his surprising, personal definition of patriotism and democracy.

    Thomas Beatie Allowed to Pursue Divorce - A trans man seeking a divorce from his wife in Arizona has been allowed to continue divorce proceedings after a panel of judges overturned a previous ruling claiming the marriage wasn't recognised.

    Arizona Couple Asks Federal Judge to Recognize Their Marriage Before One Dies -

    JusticeA gay couple from southern Arizona wants a federal judge to immediately order the state to recognize their marriage because one of the men is terminally ill.

    Lawyers for George Martinez and Fred McQuire of Green Valley say the order is needed so McQuire can be recognized as Martinez's survivor when he dies. That will allow him to take care of his affairs and collect larger Veterans Affairs and other benefits.

    Former Arizona Attorney Generals Grant Woods and Terry Goddard Support Gay Marriage -

    Grant WoodsTwo former Arizona Attorneys General say they support gay marriage. Republican Grant Woods and Democrat Terry Goddard are part of the group Arizona Lawyers for the Freedom to Marry. The group says gay marriages should be recognized under the law. Woods tells KFYI, "I think it's the civil rights issue of our time."  A lawsuit challenging Arizona's gay marriage ban is making its way through federal court, with a ruling expected to come down soon. Woods says if he was still Attorney General, he wouldn't defend the ban because he believes it is unconstitutional.

    Gay Couple Unable to Adopt in Arizona -

    In Phoenix, a gay couple feels that they need to move to Washington D.C. in order to protect their custody rights and seek adoption of their twin daughters.  Dr. Patric and Levi Schine welcomed their daughters in December.  Patric is the biological father of their daughters and Levi sought after second-parent adoption.  However, Patric and Levi were married in California and Arizona does not recognize their marriage as legal.  Thus, Levi is unable to receive second-parent adoption.

    AZ ruling on gay marriage ban expected soon -

    Heather MacreA major ruling on same-sex marriage in Arizona is expected any day now.  A lawsuit challenging the state's gay marriage ban is making its way through federal court.  Terry Pochert and Joe Connolly, of Maricopa, are one of seven couples leading the charge to give same-sex couples the right to marry in Arizona.  "To me, it's very simple," said Pochert. "Two people love each other, and are committed to each other for a lifelong relationship.  We just want the same rights that any other couple in a long term relationship would have."  In 2008, Arizona voters amended the state constitution  to include the definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.  Other states did the same

    What if: Court allows same-sex marriage in Arizona? - MontiniArizona Republic has a short article with opposing points of view.

    State Lawyers Ignore Public Support for Marriage: July 28 MNW -

    The rules have changed yet again this week in Colorado, with new rulings on marriage from multiple courts. New polls show growing support for equality in western states, but multiple Attorneys General have filed new briefs to stop gay and lesbian couples from marrying. And another Republican member of Congress has come out in favor of the freedom to marry.

    When They Stopped Waiting - Article in The Arizona Republic - Terry Pochert and Joe Connolly

    Shaun McKinnon and his print/video colleague, Patrick Shannahan, from the The Arizona Republic and tell the story of why we are fighting the ban on same sex marriage her in AZ and how it came together. The lawsuit is Connolly v Roche.
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