A federal judge has ordered Arizona to recognize one same-sex marriage, determining Friday that the state must formally acknowledge that Fred McQuire and George Martinez were married.
McQuire and Martinez were together for more than four decades before they got married in California over the summer. In August, a month after they were married, Martinez died. But because same-sex marriage remains banned in Arizona, McQuire asked the court to make the state list him as Martinez’s spouse. McQuire argued that by leaving him off of Martinez’s death certificate, McQuire would suffer emotional harm as well as the loss of financial benefits.
Arizona same-sex marriage ban likely to fall
By Lyle Denniston on Sep 14, 2014 at 8:03 am
A federal judge in Phoenix has taken an initial step toward allowing same-sex marriage in that state, indicating that he is likely to strike down the state’s ban when he rules on it soon. Senior U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick, overseeing two cases involving some fifteen gay and lesbian couples, ruled Friday on only one part of that case, but left little doubt where his overall review was heading.
In his fourteen-page order, he ruled that state officials must treat a gay couple as having been married when one of the partners died this summer. Thus, the death certificate must show that they were married at that time, according to the decision. In the course of that ruling, though, the judge offered a range of observations that seem sure to doom Arizona’s ban when he does confront that issue directly.