Judge strikes down Arizona ban on gay marriage, licenses to be issued immediately

Oct 17, 2014, 8:17 AM | Updated: 12:53 pm
...

PHOENIX — The final obstacle standing in the way of equal marriage rights for Arizonans fell on Friday, as a federal judge ruled Arizona’s laws preventing same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

A few hours later, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said he would order clerks to begin issuing marriage certificates to couples.

The decision follows days of suspense, after U.S. District Judge John Sedwick previously issued an order for the two parties in the lawsuits challenging Arizona’s law to file briefs arguing why or why not the earlier decision of the 9th Circuit is or is not applicable to Arizona.

“A stay of this decision to allow defendants to appeal is not warranted. It is
clear that an appeal to the 9th Circuit would not succeed. It is also clear …
that the High Court will turn a deaf ear on any request for relief from the 9th
Circuit’s decision,” Sedwick said.

Sedwick, who was nominated to the federal bench in 1992 by President George
H.W. Bush, ordered the state to “permanently cease” its ban on gay marriage
and declined to stay his order.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called the day “historic” for the state and later tweeted:

In a press release, Gov. Jan Brewer said she was disappointed an unelected judge has the power to strike down state laws.

“Simply put, courts should not be in the business of making and changing laws based on their personal agendas,” the release said. “It is not the role of the judiciary to determine that same-sex marriages should be allowed. Historically and traditionally, that power belongs to the states, and to the people. If society wants to recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, that decision should be made through our elected representatives or at the ballot — not the courts.”

Despite personally disagreeing with the ruling, Horne said appealing the case would be “an exercise in futility” because the chances of the 9th Circuit Court overturning its own ruling are “zero.”

“The only purpose of filing the appeal is wasting the taxpayers’ money,” he said in a press conference.

Horne had received thousands of petitions encouraging him to drop the state’s enforcement of the 1996 law. Voters approved a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage in 2008.

Couples began tying the knot less than one hour after Horne gave permission.

The Arizona decision came after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Oct.
7 that gay marriage prohibitions in Nevada and Idaho violated the
equal-protection rights of same-sex couples.

The mayor’s office in Phoenix said judges would be available to “marry all couples with licenses” at his office Friday afternoon.

Friday, the federal government announced it would recognize same-sex marriages in seven more states — Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Utah. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states
seeking to retain their bans on same-sex marriage.

The bans have been falling in conservative states for weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Twitter File Photo/@PhoenixPolice)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police fatally shoot robbery suspect after car chase

Police in Phoenix said they fatally shot an armed robbery suspect after a car chase late Tuesday night.
7 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)...
SuElen Rivera

Former Arizona AG says not certifying an election is a criminal violation

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard on Tuesday said there are criminal consequences for those who neglect to certify an election.
7 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Mici Italian)...
KTAR.com

Mici Italian restaurant to open second Valley location in Queen Creek

Colorado-based restaurant Mici Italian is preparing to open its second Valley location in Queen Creek sometime during the winter. 
7 hours ago
(Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

Palo Verde nuclear power plant west of Phoenix to test emergency sirens

Emergency sirens designed to alert nearby residents of a problem at the nuclear power plant far west of downtown Phoenix will be tested Wednesday, officials said.
7 hours ago
(Indicap Rendering)...
KTAR.com

Developers break ground on 113-acre industrial park in Mesa

Developers have broken ground on a 113-acre industrial park in Mesa that will be home to more than 1.6 million square feet.
7 hours ago
(City of Avondale Photo)...
KTAR.com

Avondale starts month of holiday festivities Saturday with WinterFest

Avondale will kick off a month of holiday festivities Saturday night with WinterFest, family-friendly event at the Civic Center amphitheater.
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Judge strikes down Arizona ban on gay marriage, licenses to be issued immediately