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Citing Previous Rulings, Federal Judge Throws Out Arizona Gay-Marriage Ban

In a process that will surely be repeated across the United States, a federal judge in Arizona ruled that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick said that the legal opinion in his circuit is clear: The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decided state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals for those cases.

For that reason, Sedwick ordered that the state "permanently cease enforcement of those provisions of Arizona law declared unconstitutional by this order."

In simple terms, this means that gay marriages will begin immediately in the state.

The Arizona Republic reports that the state's attorney general, Tom Horne, said he would not appeal the ruling. The paper reports:

"Gov. Jan Brewer, whose staff had talked in recent days with Horne, issued a statement minutes before Horne's press conference. Brewer, a vocal advocate for traditional marriages, said, with its decision, the court was eroding the peoples' power and overstepping its boundaries.

"In 2008, Brewer pointed out, Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

" 'Now, with their rulings, the federal courts have again thwarted the will of the people and further eroded the authority of states to regulate and uphold our laws,' Brewer's statement said. 'It is not only disappointing, but also deeply troubling, that unelected federal judges can dictate the laws of individual states, create rights based on their personal policy preferences and supplant the will of the people in an area traditionally left to the states for more than two hundred years.' "

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is an international correspondent for NPR. He was named NPR's Mexico City correspondent in 2022. Before that, he was based in Cape Town, South Africa.
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