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Friday Hearing for Arizona Same-Sex Widower Case

Photo courtesy Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

A special assistant attorney general told a federal judge Monday it’s too bad — but not illegal — that the state won’t list Fred McQuire as the survivor of the man he legally wed in California. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Byron Babione of the Alliance Defending Freedom said Arizona voters were legally entitled to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. He said they have something gay couples do not: “the natural capacity to create children and to provide those children with their biological mother and biological father.” And, he said that means no Arizona recognition for McQuire and George Martinez, Green Valley residents married last year in California. He also told Judge John Sedwick there’s no basis for a temporary restraining order requiring state officials to list McQuire on the death certificate as surviving spouse of Martinez who died last month. Babione said such orders are to preserve the status quo. But, attorney Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal said Babione has it wrong.

“TROs are to prevent irreparable harm. If harm is coming at you and it hasn’t happened yet, so as of this particular moment, you’re not crushed by the train, the TRO would be the thing that intervenes and protects you from the harm,” Pizer said.

Pizer said in this case, without an order listing McQuire as surviving spouse based on the California marriage he will not be able to get Martinez’ Social Security or other benefits and will lose the house they shared. A hearing on McQuire’s emergency request is set for Friday.

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