Arizona judge rules in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down state ban

Today, October 17, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedgwick ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Arizona in two federal legal cases that challenged the state’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment.

Attorney General Horne has said that he will not appeal the ruling meaning that marriage licenses could be issued as soon as today.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
“Today’s ruling in Arizona affirms what nearly every court in the past year has held: loving and committed same-sex couples are guaranteed the freedom to marry by the U.S. Constitution. It is time for the courts to finish the job and end marriage discrimination throughout the land.”

One of the cases, Connolly v. Jeaneswas filed by private counsel on behalf of several same-sex couples. The other case, Majors v. Horne, was led by Lambda Legal. In the Connolly case, several of the couples, including Terry Pochert & Joe Connolly and Mason Hite & Christopher Devine, married legally in California, while various other families await the day that they can marry in Arizona. 

The ruling today strikes down Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. It comes just over a week after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's decision in two other cases out of Idaho and Nevada affirming the freedom to marry. 

Read the full ruling here in Connolly. And check out the ruling in Majors here.

This ruling also comes just over a month after Judge Sedgwick ruled that Arizona must respect the legal marriage of Fred McQuire and his late husband George Martinez, ending the denial of survivor benefits to McQuire. The federal judge’s ruling today sheds light on the need to respect the marriages of all married couples nationwide and is a momentous day for Arizona.

For the past year, Freedom to Marry has been proud to work as a leading and founding member of Why Marriage Matters Arizona, a public education campaign dedicated to starting and fueling the conversation on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Learn more about the campaign here.

Freedom to Marry applauds the legal team and plaintiffs for their bravery in challenging Arizona’s marriage ban. 

Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

Today’s ruling in Arizona affirms what nearly every court in the past year has held: loving and committed same-sex couples are guaranteed the freedom to marry by the U.S. Constitution. It is time for the courts to finish the job and end marriage discrimination throughout the land.

When Arizona begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, 31 states will officially have the freedom to marry, with the path to marriage paved in 4 other states thanks to appellate rulings in the 4th, 9th, and 10th Circuits. 

Learn more about where state laws stand here.