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Supreme Court Gay Marriage Move Won’t Affect Arizona, Yet


Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to delay same-sex marriages in other states has no immediate impact here. But, as Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports, it could expedite gay marriages in the state if and when federal courts here decide the issue.

In essence, the justices refused to disturb, for now, federal appellate court rulings from other states that struck down bans on gays being able to marry. That action allows those rulings to take effect.

And, officials in those states now have no legal reason to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples while a full-blown appeal on the rights of gays proceeds. There has been no such ruling in Arizona — yet.

There are two lawsuits pending in federal court here. And, while Judge John Sedwick said he has not decided whether the Arizona ban is unconstitutional, he did tip his hand a bit in ruling last month that a man married legally in California is entitled to be listed on an Arizona death certificate as his husband's surviving spouse.

But, a decision could come even quicker, with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals set to rule on similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. And, that ruling will be binding on Arizona. With the nation's high court refusing to stay appellate court rulings on the issue, that could pave the way for gays to start marrying in Arizona as soon as either Sedwick or the 9th Circuit rules.

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