Tom Horne Announces Landmark Decision On Same-Sex Marriage In Arizona.
“Judge John Sedwick concluded that provisions of the voter-approved measure were “unconstitutional because they deny same-sex couples the equal protection of the law.”
A federal judge has ruled that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and has refused to stay his ruling. Unless the state appeals the decision, gay and lesbian couples soon will be able obtain marriage licenses.
The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals follows other battles over the state’s immigration policies, including rulings that struck down much of Arizona’s landmark 2010 immigration enforcement law.
A small number of the state’s immigration laws have been upheld, including a key section of its 2010 law that requires police to check people’s immigration status under certain circumstances.
But the courts have slowly dismantled other laws that sought to draw local police into immigration enforcement as frustrations in the state grew over what critics said was inadequate border protection by the federal government.
“It’s proved to be a failed experiment,” said Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor who specializes in immigration law.
The panel ruled the law violates due-process rights by imposing punishment before trial. The court also said the law was a “scattershot attempt” at confronting people who flee from authorities, and there was no evidence it dealt with a particularly critical problem.
“When the federal government abandons its interest in enforcing immigration law and leaves them on the books, it generates contempt for the law in general — and that is not good for a country that’s based on the rule of law,” MacIntyre said.
The court said no studies, statistics or other evidence showed that people in the country illegally pose a greater risk of fleeing from authorities than people in the country legally.
An aide to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was sued as part of the challenge to the no-bail law, said he believes the sheriff’s office will ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider its ruling. If that doesn’t succeed, it will petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.
Arpaio aide Jack MacIntyre rejects the view that many of the state’s immigration laws were illegitimate.