An Arizona District Court recently issued an emergency ruling that the state must recognize the marriage between Fred McQuire and George Martinez. Before Martinez’s death, the partners of forty five years were married in California. As described in this article, when Martinez was diagnosed with Prostate cancer, the two Arizona residents were married in California and filed an emergency request immediately upon their return home to have their marriage recognized by the state.
As Federal law does not award spousal social security benefits, nor veteran benefits, to surviving spouses that have been married less than nine months to a year, respectively, McQuire will not be able to stay in the couple’s home due to financial restrictions. McQuire believes that his suit is not just about his relationship, stating, “People are being denied their rights of survivorship, their dignity, their right to live the rest of their lives in the way their spouse would want them to live.”
In his emergency motion, Judge John Sedwick states, “The court has not yet decided whether there is conflict between Arizona law and the Constitution, but the court has decided that it is probable that there is such a conflict so that Arizona will be required to permit same-sex marriages.” In response to the state’s argument that Arizona’s current laws that define marriage do not discriminate, Judge Sedwick “The reason why couples such as McQuire and Martinez may not marry is precisely because of their sexual orientation.”
Because he is the judge that will decide both of Arizona’s current suits that challenge the state’s current definition of marriage, Judge Sedwick’s motion to recognize McQuire and Martinez’s marriage is an important step in the fight for marriage equality.
If you or someone you know believe their civil rights have been violated, the team at Radford & Keebaugh can help. Contact us by phone at (678) 369-3609 or use our contact form.