Court Filings

ARIZONA - Majors v. Horne - Complaint

Arizona - marriage equality
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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 43670-0004/LEGAL120120671.2  Jennifer C. Pizer (  Pro hac   vice to be filed)Carmina Ocampo (  Pro hac   vice  to be filed) Joshua J. Johnson (  Pro hac vice  to be filed) LAMBDA LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, INC. 4221 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 280 Los Angeles, California 90010 Telephone: 213.382.7600 Facsimile: 213.351.6050 Email: Paul F. Eckstein (Bar No. 001822) Daniel C. Barr (Bar No. 010149) Kirstin T. Eidenbach (Bar No. 027341) Barry G. Stratford (Bar No. 029923) Alexis E. Danneman (Bar No. 030478) PERKINS COIE LLP 2901 North Central Avenue, Suite 2000 Phoenix, Arizona 85012-2788 Telephone: 602.351.8000 Facsimile: 602.648.7000 Email:  Attorneys for Plaintiffs Nelda Majors, Karen  Bailey, David Larance, Kevin Patterson,  Michelle Teichner, Barbara Morrissey, Kathy Young, Jessica Young, Kelli Olson, Jennifer  Hoefle Olson, Kent Burbank, Vicente Talanquer, C.J. Castro-Byrd, Jesús Castro-Byrd, Patrick  Ralph, and Josefina Ahumada UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF ARIZONA  Nelda Majors; Karen Bailey; David Larance; Kevin Patterson; Michelle Teichner; Barbara Morrissey; Kathy Young; Jessica Young; Kelli Olson; Jennifer Hoefle Olson; Kent Burbank; Vicente Talanquer; C.J. Castro-Byrd; Jesús Castro-Byrd; Patrick Ralph; and Josefina Ahumada, Plaintiffs, v. Tom Horne, in his official capacity as Attorney  No. COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 43670-0004/LEGAL120120671.2   -2-   General of the State of Arizona; Will Humble, in his official capacity as Director of the Department of Health Services; and Michael K. Jeanes, in his official capacity as Clerk of the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, Defendants. Plaintiffs Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey, David Larance and Kevin Patterson, Michelle Teichner and Barbara Morrissey, Kathy Young and Jessica Young, Kelli Olson and Jennifer Hoefle Olson, Kent Burbank and Vicente Talanquer, C.J. Castro-Byrd and Jesús Castro-Byrd, Patrick Ralph, and Josefina Ahumada (collectively “Plaintiffs”) file this Complaint against Defendants Tom Horne, Will Humble, and Michael K. Jeanes (collectively “Defendants”), and allege as follows: INTRODUCTION 1.   Plaintiffs are loving, committed same-sex couples who reside in Arizona, individual Arizona residents who had a same-sex spouse, and an organization that represents same-sex couples in Arizona. Plaintiffs bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking declaratory and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief for Defendants’ violation of Plaintiffs’ rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution caused by the discriminatory exclusion of same-sex couples from the freedom to marry and the discriminatory denial of recognition of marriages lawfully entered by same-sex couples in other jurisdictions pursuant to the laws of the State of Arizona (“State”). 2.   Marriage plays a unique role in society as the universally recognized and celebrated hallmark of a couple’s commitment to build family life together. It confers upon couples a dignity and status of immense import. Plaintiffs have formed committed, enduring bonds equally worthy of the respect afforded by the State to different-sex couples through marriage. Yet, the State, without any adequate justification, has enacted statutory and constitutional amendments and otherwise interpreted and enforced its laws  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 43670-0004/LEGAL120120671.2   -3-   in ways that single out lesbian and gay Arizonans by excluding them from the freedom to marry and by refusing to recognize and respect their lawful marriages from other  jurisdictions, based solely on their sexual orientation and their sex. 3.   Through the State’s constitutional and statutory marriage bans and through Defendants’ enforcement of them and their interpretation and enforcement of the State’s other laws to preclude same-sex couples from marrying or having their marriages lawfully entered in other jurisdictions recognized in Arizona, the State and Defendants send a  purposeful message that they view lesbians, gay men, and their children as second-class citizens who are undeserving of the legal sanction, respect, protections, and support that heterosexuals and their families are able to enjoy through marriage. This discrimination (referred to herein as the State’s “marriage ban”) is enshrined both in the State’s statutes and in Article 30, section 1 of the Arizona Constitution, which prevents same-sex couples from entering into a civil marriage in the State and prohibits the State from honoring a civil marriage validly entered by a same-sex couple in another jurisdiction. 4.   The marriage ban inflicts serious and irreparable harm on same-sex couples and their children. Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey and David Larance and Kevin Patterson are not married, and each couple wishes to marry for the same reasons as different-sex couples: to publicly declare their love and commitment before their family, friends, and community, and to give one another and the children they are raising the security and protections that marriage provides. Michelle Teichner and Barbara Morrissey, Kathy Young and Jessica Young, Kelli Olson and Jennifer Hoefle Olson, Kent Burbank and Vicente Talanquer, and C.J. Castro-Byrd and Jesús Castro-Byrd all married in other jurisdictions, but are treated as legal strangers in the state they call home—a hurtful invalidation of their relationships, which deprives them of the protections that a legally recognized marriage most securely provides. Patrick Ralph married his husband Gary Hurst in California; but when Gary passed away in August 2013 after a lengthy disability needing around-the-clock care by Patrick, the State would not permit Patrick to  be listed as Gary’s husband on Gary’s death certificate. Josefina Ahumada and Helen  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 43670-0004/LEGAL120120671.2   -4-   Battiste married in New Mexico; but when Helen died on January 31, 2014, Josefina was not even permitted to apply for Helen’s death certificate, let alone be listed on it as Helen’s spouse. For both Patrick and Josefina, the State’s refusal to identify them  properly as spouses on the official document recording their beloveds’ end of life was a shocking denial of their relationships at the time of most intense loss and grief, and remains a source of pain and deep sadness. 5.   Our courts and our society have discarded, one by one, marriage laws that violated the U.S. Constitution’s mandate of equality. These have included anti-miscegenation laws and laws that systematically denied married women legal independence and the right to own property and to make decisions for themselves. History has taught us that the vitality of marriage does not depend on maintaining such discriminatory laws. To the contrary, eliminating these unconstitutional marriage rules has allowed the institution to retain its relevance and resulting ability to support and sustain American couples and the families they build together. Ending the exclusion of lesbian and gay couples from marriage is no different. Indeed, in 17 states and the District of Columbia, same-sex couples are marrying and the institution of marriage continues to thrive. 6.   Plaintiffs seek equal access to marriage as the only means to secure their rights to equal protection of the law and due process, and to eliminate the myriad serious harms inflicted on them by the marriage ban and Defendants’ enforcement of it. Accordingly, Plaintiffs bring this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking declaratory and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief on the grounds that Defendants’ enforcement of the marriage ban excluding same-sex couples from marriage and refusing to recognize their valid marriages from other jurisdictions violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States.
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