Five Non-Gay Couples File Suit to Stop Arizona Ban
Five couples filed suit today to prevent a civil unions and marriage ban from reaching the Arizona ballot. They claim that the ban would deny them fundamental protections and that it unfairly asks voters to consider several public policy issues in one blow.
Unfortunately, these kinds of lawsuits tend to fail, but maybe Arizona will be different. The Georgia Supreme Court was the latest state court to reject one these pre-ballot challenges.
What's worth noting about the Arizona challenge is that all five of the couples challenging the ban are non-gay.
The Arizona amendment has language that is very similar to Wisconsin's: "To preserve and protect marriage in this state, only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage by this state or its political subdivisions and no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized by this state or its political subdivisions that is similar to that of marriage."
Three of the couples are senior citizens who have significant financial and personal reasons for remaining unmarried.
"If Protect Marriage Arizona passes it will take a lot away from us," said Maxine Piatt, a plaintiff in the lawsuit. "For example, last year I was in and out of the hospital at least four times. If it hadn't been for Al, I wouldn't be here. Because of our domestic partnership arrangement, he was able to make decisions for me when I was unable to. Without our domestic partnership agreement he probably couldn't have even gotten in to see me, let alone make medical decisions for me. The thought of that breaks my heart."Unlike ban supporters in Wisconsin, the proponents of Arizona's ban are at least forthright that it would prohibit domestic partnerships. Their campaign consultant Nathan Sproul told the Arizona Republic that "marriage is what society is built on, and it gives benefits to society." And he told the Arizona Daily Star that the ban was written to prohibit "counterfeit marriages" such as those between Al and Maxine.
"If Protect Marriage Arizona passes it will impact us financially," shared Al Brezney, Maxine's partner and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. "We are both on social security which is a very small amount. In our case remaining unmarried, but bound together in a domestic partnership is our only means of financial survival. Together we can make it, but separately we can't."
Arizona Together is the organization fighting the ban in that state.
Tags: Effects on Families, Far-reaching Consequences, National Developments