The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Angela Dallara | | 646.430.3925

Federal Judge Rules Arizona Must Respect Same-Sex Couple's Marriage


Today a federal judge ruled that the state of Arizona must respect the marriage of military veterans Fred McQuire and George Martinez, for the purposes of being listed as married on a death certificate. McQuire and Martinez were together for 45 years and married in California in July. Martinez passed away shortly after being diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, and Arizona state officials refused to list McQuire, the surviving partner, on the death certificate. McQuire, who is also battling a life-threatening illness, is barred from receiving Social Security survivor's benefits or veterans benefits, and is also at risk of losing his home, as a result of not being listed on Martinez's death certificate.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

"Couples in America should not have to play 'now you're married, now you're not' depending on which state they are in when a tragedy strikes, and states should not pick and choose which marriages they will respect and which they won't as if we did not have one Constitution protecting all of us. It is good that the court has told Arizona it may not withhold an accurate death certificate from the surviving spouse in this compelling case, but Americans should not have to fight case by case, state by state, year by year for the freedom to marry and equal protection that the Constitution guarantees. It is time for the Supreme Court to take up one or more marriage cases and affirm the freedom to marry nationwide once and for all."

Since the Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, 39 state and federal courts have upheld the freedom to marry, with only two courts ruling the other way. Every appellate ruling has been in favor of the freedom to marry, including the Utah and Oklahoma cases in the 10th Circuit, the Virginia case in the 4th Circuit, and the Wisconsin and Indiana cases in the 7th Circuit.

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.