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.)