A federal judge on Friday ruled that
the state of Arizona must recognize the marriage of military veterans
Fred McQuire and George Martinez for the purpose of death benefits.
The couple is among those challenging
Arizona's 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting
marriage to heterosexual couples.
After 45 years together, McQuire and
Martinez married in California last year.
Martinez passed away last week in
Tucson, shortly after he received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
“Given the wealth of case law holding
that state prohibitions on same sex marriage violate the
Constitution, and the absence of any persuasive case law to the
contrary, the court concludes that McQuire is likely to prevail on the
merits,” U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick wrote
in his 14-page ruling.
McQuire risked losing his home as a
result of not being listed on Martinez's death certificate as his
surviving spouse. Attorney Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal Defense
and Education Fund said without the recognition McQuire was not
eligible to receive Martinez's Social Security and other benefits.
The Christian conservative group
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing Arizona in all
cases related to marriage equality.
(Thanks to Equality
Case Files for this brief.)