PHOENIX — A class-action lawsuit filed Monday by four Arizona couples is seeking to make same-sex marriage legal in Arizona.
The suit, which names Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne and County Clerk Michael Jeanes as defendants, was filed by attorneys Shawn and Ellen Aiken. It claimed that a voter-approved ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
“The plaintiffs are asking that the court strike or reverse Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage,” said Shawn Aiken. “Right now, the state constitution prohibits same-sex marriage.”
The suit would allow same-sex couples to be married and would recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.
“I think it is a game-changer in Arizona,” said Aiken. “I think most people expect that this issue will eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In the suit, the couples describe various hardships caused by the state for not recognizing their relationship. Most focus on medical treatments, but some have to do with custody over adopted children.
“They, in turn, represent some 40,000 to 45,000 couples here in Arizona,” said Aiken.
The suit also said that certain rights and benefits are denied to gay couples because the state does not recognize their marriage.
Some of the couples who filed the suit are legally married in other states.
“Two of the four couples that are plaintiffs were married in California,” said Aiken. “As the law stands in Arizona today, their valid California marriage is unrecognized in Arizona.”
In all, three male couples and one female couple filed. All are long-time Arizona residents. Two of the couples have adopted children.
“One of the important aspects of the lawsuit is to point out how unfair Arizona’s refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages or allow in-state marriages, how that affects not just couples, but whole families, and the effect it has on children,” said Aiken.
Last month, both New Mexico and Utah legalized gay marriage. However, the Supreme Court put a hold on same-sex marriage in Utah on Monday.
A Phoenix man married his partner on Dec. 20, the day a Utah judge struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage.
Should the plaintiffs win the case, Arizona would become the 19th state to recognize same-sex marriages.
Aiken said there are about 25 lawsuits filed in 15 states that are seeking the legalization of gay marriage. The class-action is the only suit in Arizona.
KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy