A New Era for Same Sex Marriage in Arizona? (Part 2)

by | May 10, 2013 | Same Sex Marriage

A New Era for Same Sex Marriage in Arizona? (Part 2)

Written by: Tracy Augustin

You may be reading this because you could hardly contain yourself after reading Part I of this blog.  But, before you get too excited (one way or the other), you should know that it is highly likely that the Supreme Court’s ruling might have NO affect on Arizona.  Let’s find out why.

There have been a number of cases that have been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage.  And, in the past, the Supreme Court has always declined to hear these cases.  This year, however, the Court has decided to hear, not one, but two cases that involve the hot button issue of same sex marriage.

The case that will be addressed in this blog has to do with the first case heard by the Supreme Court (argued on Tuesday, March 27, 2013) that addresses whether Proposition 8 (the California ban on same-sex marriage that was approved by voters) is constitutional.

A new era for same sex marriage?
A new era for same sex marriage?

In a nutshell, what happened in California was this:  In the early months of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional not to allow same sex marriage.  For a brief period in time (mere months) same sex marriages were performed in California.  However, in the later months of that same year (2008), the people of California voted to prohibit same-sex marriage.

So, without further ado, here are the different scenarios as to how the Court could rule and it’s likely affect on Arizonans:

Proposition 8 is unconstitutional (14th Amendment), same sex marriage is a protected right

This would mean that the Arizona statute prohibiting same sex marriage would be invalid, and moreover, would mean that same-sex marriage is allowed in Arizona (and all 50 states for that matter).

Proposition 8 is constitutional, states can limit same sex marriage

This would keep the issue of whether same-sex couples are allowed to marry as a state issue.  Each state could make their own laws on this issue without interference from the federal government.  This is how it is now.  Arizona’s statute would not be an issue.

Case Dismissed, the Court could dismiss the case

This option would leave the issue of same sex marriage the most unsettled in California.  If this happens, the issue of same-sex marriage may come before the Court again very soon, especially given the changing tide on the issue.  This holding would have no affect on Arizonans.

States with civil unions must allow same sex marriage 

The Court could decide that once a state allows civil unions or domestic partnerships, there would be no reason not to allow marriage, and California’s Prop 8 would be overturned (same sex marriage would be allowed in California).  Currently, Arizona does not allow and/or recognize domestic partnerships or civil unions, so this holding would have no affect on Arizona.

Same sex marriage allowed in California 

The Court could decide to issue a very narrow ruling that would only affirm same-sex marriage in California.  Again, this ruling would have no affect on Arizona.

Whether you are for or against same sex marriage, we may have our answer by June of this year, which is when the Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling.

We will keep you posted!

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