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Supreme Court impacts marriage equality in Arizona

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Kyle Hansen | The Daily Wildcat

Jerome Biedny, a junior studying linguistics and history, makes a handprint on a banner that says ʺNever Settleʺ at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning Coming Out Week resource fair on the UA Mall on Monday. Coming Out Week gives students support to come out to their parents and friends.

UA student leaders are awaiting an Arizona federal judge’s decision on whether to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage or not.

As of Monday morning, 60 percent of the United States has legalized same-sex marriage. Arizona is among the 40 percent of the country that has not, prompting the question of when the state will join the majority.

Alaska had its ban on same-sex marriage overturned Sunday evening, and the Supreme Court denied appeals last week from five states that desired to retain their bans on same-sex marriage.

Arizona has had a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage since 2008 under Proposition 102. Arizona also recently witnessed SB 1062 spiral into controversy, which protected religious freedoms at the expense of equality for same-sex couples.

Toni Massaro, a regents’ professor in the James E. Rogers College of Law, said she believes the Supreme Court’s denial of appeals last week will affect Arizona’s Proposition 102.

Massaro said Arizona is in the 9th Circuit and faces the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that overturned same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

“The logic of the holding by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals applies equally to the Arizona prohibition, such that the federal district court judges in Arizona who are currently reviewing the Arizona law almost certainly will strike down the Arizona law as unconstitutional under controlling circuit law,” Massaro said.

Greg Daniels, co-director of Pride Alliance, said he looks at marriage equality as someone who has a personal stake in the matter. Daniels said marriage equality is important because without it, same-sex couples are being denied rights.

“Marriage itself has the potential to offer around 1,100 unique ‘benefits’ that queer people are systematically denied, all because some fussy religious nuts believe they can impose their religious doctrine on the rest of the country,” Daniels said. “Some of these unique benefits include those involving taxes, child custody, social security, immigration, pension [and] retirement accounts and many, many more.”

Daniels also compared the current situation that marriage equality is facing to another historical instance that reshaped the nation, that of segregation.

“Not offering partners of the same gender equal benefits creates a two-tier system where both are supposedly separate but equal, which sounds an awful lot like the case people tried to make in the 1950s and ‘60s about segregation,” Daniels said.  “With over half the country now supporting marriage equality, it’s time conservatives give up the fight and give in to what the nation wants: to move forward with granting more liberties and freedoms, instead of backwards by denying them.” 

Caleb Rhodes, president of the UA College Republicans, said he feels marriage equality is on the horizon.

“I believe that within 10 years, marriage equality will be a reality in Arizona,” Rhodes said. “I think it will be incredibly positive for the university and all of Arizona.” 

Nicholas Mahon, president of the UA Young Democrats, said he believes that the overruling of the ban in Arizona is needed.“It’s about time that marriage equality comes to Arizona,” Mahon said. “Tom Horne needs to stop defending Arizona’s ban on marriage equality and give all Arizonans the rights they deserve.”

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