In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal, joined by pro bono co-counsel from Perkins Coie LLP, argues that the Arizona constitutional amendment and state statutes barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The lead plaintiffs, Nelda Majors, 75, and Karen Bailey, 74, of Scottsdale, have been together for more than 55 years, and together have raised two children, Karen’s great grand-nieces Marissa and Sharla, as their own daughters since the girls came into their home as toddlers. Marissa is now 15 and Sharla 21.
“Karen and I have been together since 1957,” Majors said. “We’re a committed, loving family, have raised two amazing girls together, have seen each other through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. After five decades together, we want to celebrate and affirm our deep love for each other as other couples do, before our friends and family, through marriage. We’re also getting up there in years. I want to know that, should anything happen to me, there would be no question about Karen being allowed to be with me at the hospital, and vice versa. If we were married, there would be no question and we both would feel more secure.”
“Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples serves no legitimate state interest, brands these loving couples and their children as second-class citizens, and encourages private bias and discrimination,” Pizer said. “And because the State does not even offer a lesser status such as civil union or domestic partnership, these loving couples live every day with the uncertainty that their families and relationships lack even basic protections.”
The name of the lawsuit is Majors v. Horne. As I have said, repeatedly, the fact that in the 9th U.S. Circuit (Washington, California, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Montana) laws in these states that classify based on sexual orientation must receive heightened scrutiny that they are not violating the equal protection rights of LGBT people makes it very likely that bans on same-sex marriage in these states are toast. The deadline to appeal the decision that declared sexual orientation subject to heightened scrutiny passed last Friday, and this lawsuit I'm sure is a consequence of that decision.