A New Era for Same Sex Marriage in Arizona? (Part 1)

Written by: Tracy Augustin


As you may know, same-sex marriage is currently illegal in the state of Arizona. But, we may be entering a new era on that issue.  As of January of this year, nine states fully recognize same-sex marriage, and Rhode Island literally just legalized same-sex marriage becoming the tenth state (along with Iowa, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia). 


On the flip-side of those states in which same-sex marriage is legal are those states in which same sex marriage is illegal (the majority of states still prohibit same-sex marriage either by statute or through their state constitutions).

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

Arizona bans same sex marriage statutorily (meaning it was put into law by the state legislators).  See A.R.S. Section 25-101.  You may recall that in both 2006 and 2008, the citizens of Arizona voted on whether or not to amend or change Arizona’s constitution to ban same sex marriage.  Both times the issues were put on the ballot, Arizonans voted against changing the constitution to ban same sex marriage.  (Surprisingly, Arizona was the first state to vote against amending its constitution to ban same-sex marriage when the issue was up for vote).  Of course, this didn’t mean that same-sex couples could now get married here.  In actuality, the vote did nothing to change the fact that same-sex marriage was and still is illegal in Arizona.


So, why all the hype surrounding this issue now?   Well, you may have heard the recent buzz that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is taking up the issue of same sex marriage in two separate landmark cases and wondered how a ruling from the highest Court in the land might affect Arizonans.  I know I did.  However, the answer is not necessarily black and white, and it is very likely that the ruling could have little to no direct effect at all for Arizonans.


To learn more about the different ways the Supreme Court’s decision might directly affect Arizona, stay tuned for Part II of this blog!

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