Politics

Arizona Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Marriages To Begin “Immediately”

Judge also refuses to put his ruling on hold during any possible appeal. [Update: Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne will not appeal, says clerks “can issue licenses for same sex marriages immediately.” ]

Following an appeals court ruling allowing Idaho same-sex couples to marry, a federal judge also struck down Arizona’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages. Patrick Sweeney / Reuters

WASHINGTON — Arizona’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down the state’s ban based on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision striking down Idaho and Nevada’s similar bans.

Additionally, he refused to grant a stay of his opinion, meaning the decision goes into effect immediately.

The judge’s conclusion:

Further, the judge refused any stay of his decision:

update

Judge Sedwick issued a similar ruling in a similar case, as well.

Update, 1:50 p.m. ET: Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne will not appeal the ruling, same-sex couples to be allowed to receive marriage licenses immediately:

“A number of Attorneys General have refused to defend laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I have not been among that group. I have fought to defend the laws as passed by the voters of Arizona, which I believe is the duty of the Attorney General.

Both the Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled against us, and the United States Supreme Court has shown an unwillingness to accept review in the case of three other circuits in essentially identical circumstances.

The decision I make today has to be based on legal considerations rather than policy considerations. I believe the first duty of the Attorney General is to be a good lawyer.

Lawyers live under a rule called Rule 11, which provides that it is unethical for a lawyer to file a pleading for purposes of delay rather than to achieve a result.

The probability of persuading the 9th circuit to reverse today’s decision is zero. The probability of the United States Supreme Court accepting review of the 9th circuit decision is also zero.

Therefore, the only purpose to be served by filing another appeal would be to waste the taxpayer’s money. That is not a good conservative principle.

I have decided not to appeal today’s decision, which would be an exercise in futility, and which would serve only the purpose of wasting taxpayers’ money.

I am issuing a letter today to the 15 county clerks of court with the directive that based on today’s decision by the Federal District Court, they can issue licenses for same sex marriages immediately.”

Update, 2:34 p.m.: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is not happy with the ruling.

Update, 3:36 p.m.: The lead plaintiffs in one of the Arizona marriage cases have gotten their marriage license:

Karen Bailey holds up her marriage certificate after waiting 57 years with her partner Nelda Majors (left).

— Mark Remillard (@MarkJRemillard)

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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