In a major decision, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in favor of equality for LGBTQ parents. In the case, which involved a divorced lesbian couple, the justices affirmed that the state was required to extend the same “constellation of benefits” attendant to marriage, including in parentage issues, to same-sex couples as they would to different-sex married couples. This decision is consistent with both Obergefell v. Hodges and Pavan v. Smith. HRC congratulates the National Center for Lesbian Rights on this important victory.
Following the couple’s divorce in 2011, a child custody battle ensued with the non-biological mother exercising her right to an ongoing role in the life of her child. A lower ruled in her favor, but that decision was overturned on appeal, leading to the case being brought before the Arizona Supreme Court.
Drawing directly from Obergefell, the Court wrote, “Denying same-sex couples ‘the same legal treatment’ in marriage, and ‘all the benefits’ afforded opposite-sex couples, ‘works a grave and continuing harm’ on gays and lesbians in various ways—demeaning them, humiliating and stigmatizing their children and family units, and teaching society that they are inferior in important respects.”
The Arizona Supreme Court also called out the state legislature for their refusal to update hundreds of state laws and statutes that now violate the U.S. Constitution following the Obergefell v. Hodges decision:
“Through legislative enactments and rulemaking, our coordinate branches of government can forestall unnecessary litigation and help ensure that Arizona law guarantees same-sex spouses the dignity and equality the Constitution requires ― namely, the same benefits afforded couples in opposite-sex marriages.”
In July, HRC launched HRC Rising, the largest grassroots expansion in its history that will include significant investments in Arizona ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Follow hrc.org/resist for more information.
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