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Arizona Couples Sue for Marriage Equality

Arizona Couples Sue for Marriage Equality

Four Arizona same-sex couples have filed a suit in federal court seeking to strike down their state’s constitutional provision limiting marriage to male-female couples.

The suit, filed Monday, names Arizona governor Jan Brewer, state attorney general Tom Horne, and Maricopa County Superior Court clerk Michael Jeanes as defendants, reports Phoenix radio station KTAR. Maricopa County includes Phoenix, the state’s capital and largest city.

Two of the couples were married in California, but Arizona’s constitution prevents the state from recognizing their marriages. Arizona voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage exclusively as an opposite-sex union.

The suit contends that this amendment violates the U.S. Constitution and cites the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor v. U.S., invalidating the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that kept the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

“We’re saying, ‘Look, follow that rationale and make the same declaration as to the law in Arizona,’” Shawn Aiken, one of the attorneys representing the couples, told The Arizona Republic. “It’s that simple.”

Two of the couples in the suit are raising adopted children, and the suit cites various hardships created by lack of marriage rights and recognition. “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,” Aiken told KTAR.

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