Federal Judge, AG Candidates Consider Future Of Same-Sex Marriage Ban In Arizona

By Nick Blumberg
Published: Friday, October 10, 2014 - 1:01pm
Updated: Friday, October 10, 2014 - 3:37pm
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A federal judge wants to hear from the two sides arguing over Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. He’s given them a week to submit papers discussing how a higher court’s move affects the Arizona case. It’s unclear how Arizona's attorney general will act -- and how his limited political lifespan will affect that case.

In an order late Thursday, Judge John Sedwick said a ruling from the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of gay marriage in Idaho and Nevada appears binding in the case against Arizona’s ban. He gave plaintiffs and defendants seven days to file briefs discussing how the 9th Circuit decision applies.

Both sides have already asked the judge to rule without a full trial, so a decision in the Arizona case could come relatively quickly.

The Arizona Attorney General’s office on Friday wouldn’t say whether it will continue defending the state’s ban. A spokesperson said lawyers aren’t yet sure they agree that the 9th Circuit ruling applies in this case.

But even if the judge rules against Arizona's ban, the legal case could drag on well into the future. Attorney General Tom Horne lost his primary election and will be out of office in January. So, how will the people running to succeed him handle this case?

Democrat Felecia Rotellini supports marriage equality personally, but says as attorney general she would be required to uphold the state constitution. Rotellini says she’d monitor developments in same-sex marriage cases and let that guide whether she stops defending the ban.

“As the cases are developed and the precedent is being set, we will  make a decision which I believe will be in the best interests of all Arizonans and that will promote equality for all,” said Rotellini.

Republican Mark Brnovich’s campaign didn’t respond to an interview request. But in an Arizona Republic candidate questionnaire, he said voters made the ban on same-sex marriage law, and that as attorney general he would defend the law.

Updated 10-10-14 3:36 p.m.