(Phoenix, AZ—8/6/14) More than 150 of Arizona’s top attorneys have joined a coalition in support of marriage equality in the state and nationwide. The group, Arizona Lawyers for the Freedom to Marry, was organized by Why Marriage Matters Arizona and launched a website today to declare their view that all marriages should be recognized under the law. The attorneys—some former public officials, others representing some of the state’s most distinguished private law firms and leading legal advocacy groups—said marriage equality is properly before the courts and that it is the responsibility of the judicial system to protect this basic freedom.
“This is a matter of fairness under the law,” said Terry Goddard, who has served as Arizona’s Attorney General and as the Mayor of Phoenix. “As attorneys here in Arizona, we believe in equal rights and freedom for all. And, marriage is a fundamental freedom. We hope that one day soon, marriage equality will be the law of land.”
There are two marriage cases currently moving through the courts in Arizona. The first, Connelly vs. Roche, was filed in January 2014 on behalf of four same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry and respect for their out-of-state marriages in Arizona. The judge is currently considering whether to schedule oral arguments or rule on the case without a hearing.
The second case, Majors vs. Horne, was filed in March n behalf of seven same-sex couples – and the surviving spouses of two other same-sex couples. The plaintiffs will file their motion for summary judgment on August 1st.
Andy Silverman, the Joseph M. Livermore Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Program at the University of Arizona, commented: “All across the country, judges from across the ideological spectrum have come to the same conclusion: same-sex couples deserve the dignity of marriage, and anti-marriage laws are indefensible.”
Over the past year, there have been 28 consecutive rulings in favor of marriage equality, and not a single ruling against marriage. Furthermore, public opinion is rapidly shifting, with a healthy majority of Americans supporting marriage—a Gallup poll released in May 2014 shows 55 percent believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
“There is no legal justification to have one set of rules for straight couples and a different set of rules for gay couples,” said former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods. “That’s not how we do things in America. This is nothing but discrimination.”