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."

"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."
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.

Arizona Together is the organization fighting the ban in that state.

Tags: ,,


At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Kent Walker said...

For someone like Nathan Sproul to say "ban was written to prohibit "counterfeit marriages" such as those between Al and Maxine" is just infuriating.

They explained why they can't get married and he would deny them the social security that they both paid into and deserve. This is the same as him walking up to their house and just saying go live in the streets if you want. Your benefits are of no concern to us.

A real Christian attitute would not even consider this.

Hateful, hateful, hateful and a perfect example why everyone in this state and others should vote No on the amendment.

I am just floored by this hostility.

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

I'm afraid I've got to agree with Nathan Sproul and disagree with Kent.

Fact is that Al and Maxine are using a domestic partnership, "marriage lite," to get some of the benefits of marriage (like medical decision making) and to avoid some of the responsibilities (like sharing a pension). It's folks like Al and Maxine who are destroying marriage as an institution. My tax dollars should NOT be going to provide double social security benefits for this couple. If they want the benefits of marriage, they should marry.

At the same time, as a gay man, and unlike Al and Maxine, I do not have the option to choose marriage. So whatever legal means I craft out to protect my family must be protected.

The Arizona courts will be correct is they throw out these 5 lawsuits.

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

I should also remind Joshua that Fair Wisconsin is going about the task in the right way. Kudoes.

We are working democratically to let the people defeat this amendment. And after they defeat the amendment, it is my prayer that Fair Wisconsin will be successful in lobbying lawmakers in Wisconsin to establish Vermont-style domestic partnerships.

It is not the job of the courts to win this battle for us. The silly court in Massachusetts is what got us in the mess in the first place my prodding the Christianists with a sharp stick.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Kent Walker said...

Point well taken Keith but for me, the issue of domestic partnerships is not exclusively with same-sex. If al and maxine are not to be protected in a domestic partnership then neither should we.

And I agree with your point on Fair Wisconsin. Great, great leadership with this issue.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger David Schowengerdt said...

You should give our court systems a bit more credit, Keith. They play a very important role in the democratic process, whether you agree with their decisions or not or whether it's the "correct" venue/strategy or not. I find it sad that you think the MA court is silly in finding that yes, even gay people, are entitled to be treated equally. I do understand the importance of talking to people about this issue and giving them a chance to grow. But, to say that we shouldn't pursue whatever course of action is available to us just because someone won't like the results implies that we don't think we're actually worthy of being treated equally.

At 6:53 PM, Blogger Jay said...

We win only when the courts, state legislatures, and voters all agree that full marriage equality is the right, just thing to do in a free society. It's going to take all three for the ultimate victory. I'm willing to support all branches whenever and wherever to make that happen.


Post a Comment

<< Home

A Fair Wisconsin Votes No
Add this banner to your website