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Suzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell

Suzanne Cummins (left) and Holly Mitchel celebrate after exchanging vows at the Arizona Grand Resort in October 2014.  Pat Shannahan / The Republic / azc


Client Reference(s):

Lives changed in an instant

Photo by David Kadlubowski, The Arizona Republic


Shaun McKinnon writing for the Arizona Republic on October 19, 2014, "In a Tempe church on a Wednesday evening in December, a Phoenix lawyer listened as two of his fellow congregants asked for advice.

They wanted to pursue a legal issue, an important one in their lives, and they needed to find someone to represent them.

The lawyer, a senior partner in a Biltmore district firm, promised to think about it, maybe come up with a name or two of lawyers with experience in the field. After a few days, he returned with one name: his own.

Within 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. ..."



Suzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell

Suzanne Cummins and Holly MitchellSuzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell

Meet the Plaintiffs: Suzanne Cummins and Holly Mitchell

Suzanne Cummins was raised in Mesa, Arizona and Holly Mitchell was born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas. Suzanne and Holly met on the job and began dating in 2007. They would like to marry but Arizona laws discriminate against same sex couples. They have a family but they want and need to be a family with the same equal rights and protections granted by marriage that most other Arizona families seldom think about.  In 2009, they completed the foster licensing process in the State of Arizona and began fostering 2 girls.  In November 2010, Suzanne adopted Jessica and in July 2011, Suzanne adopted Madisyn. As foster parents, both Suzanne and Holly had full parental rights regarding the health and welfare of the children placed in their care. Today, even while sharing daily parenting duties with Suzanne, living in the same household, as a wife and mother, Holly is a legal stranger to Suzanne, Madisyn and Jessica. The State of Arizona allows same sex couples equal rights when it comes to the foster care system but denies them the same rights when they attempt to adopt children out of the foster care system. As a result of Arizona’s denial of same sex parent adoption, Suzanne and Holly decided that Suzanne would become the legal parent of record. Holly has no legal right regarding medical information, nor the ability to approve medical care for their daughters, even though Madisyn has an autoimmune disease Parents will do anything for their children and Suzanne and Holly are no exception. Holly and Suzanne were considering leaving Arizona for another state that would recognize their family and provide them the rights they need to care for their girls and each other. Instead, they chose to stay and fight, joining six other couples in the fight for marriage equality in Arizona.  We’re glad they did!


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