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Judge Orders Arizona to Recognize Gay Couple's Marriage: VIDEO

Mcquire_martinez

On Friday, a federal judge ordered Arizona to recognize the marriage of a gay man who lost his spouse to cancer last month and was subsequently denied death benefits because of the state's same-sex marriage ban. 

Fred McQuire [top left] and George Martinez [top right], who had been together for more than 40 years, were married in California over the summer - shortly before Martinez passed away in August. McQuire proceeded to file suit against the state, arguing that he would suffer emotional and financial harm from not being listed on Martinez's death certificate. 

The Washington Post reports:

U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick agreed that he should be listed, ordering the Arizona Department of Health Services to “prepare, issue, and accept a death certificate” that lists McQuire as Martinez’s spouse. His ruling is very limited, focusing only on this one couple, but it also touches on the larger issues involving same-sex marriage, noting that arguments suggesting Arizona’s ban does not discriminate “lacks merit.”

The AP adds:

Sedwick sided with the state, however, in ruling that McQuire hadn't shown irreparable harm based on the financial consequences of not having his marriage recognized in Arizona, ruling that McQuire will not be able to succeed in getting Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits.

The Arizona Republic reports that following the ruling, McQuire headed ffrom Phoenix to Tucson to get the death certificate.

"George will be very proud of me being here," McQuire, who uses a cane and has hand tremors related to Parkinson's disease, said during the hearing Friday morning. "I need to let people know I was married. George was my life partner for over 40 years. We loved each other, and he would love to have my name on his death certificate."

For more on the ruling, check out the video AFTER THE JUMP... (warning: autoplay)

Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard challenges to gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Any ruling made will apply to Arizona also. 

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Tempe is First Arizona City to Ban Discrimination Against LGBT City Workers in Charter

The citizens of Tempe, Arizona voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve Proposition 475, a change to the city charter that would ban discrimination against LGBT city workers, the Arizona Republic reports:

TempeThe public vote came in the wake of the City Council voting unanimously to approve an ordinance on Feb. 27 that bans discrimination against the LGBT community in areas of housing, employment and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels. The ordinance, which did not provide protections for Tempe municipal workers, includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs.

Businesses or individuals who discriminate in Tempe on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, U.S. military veteran status, race, color, gender, religion, national origin, familial status, age or disability now face a civil sanction with a fine up to $2,500. The penalty mirrors fines in Phoenix under a similar ordinance.

The ballot measure read:

A proposed amendment to the Tempe City Charter by the City Council.

OFFICIAL TITLE: A PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF TEMPE, ARIZONA, ARTICLE IX, GENERAL PROVISIONS, SECTION 9.01, PROHIBITIONS AND PENALTIES, SUBSECTION (A)(1), ACTIVITIES PROHIBITED.

DESCRIPTIVE TITLE: Shall the Tempe City Charter be amended to prohibit discrimination or favor for city positions on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, familial status, age, political affiliation, disability or United States military veteran status, except as such favor may be authorized by law?

A "YES" vote shall have the effect of amending the Tempe City Charter by including additional categories to be protected from discrimination or favor with respect to city positions.

A "NO" vote shall have the effect of retaining the current charter language.

Advocates hope that the successful passage of Proposition 475 will prompt more Arizona cities to add LGBT protections to existing statues.


Tempe, Arizona Votes Today On Proposition Protecting LGBT People From Employment Discrimination

TakeiThe city of Tempe, Arizona will today vote on Proposition 475, a measure that would protect workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, AZ Central reports. While Tempe's city council earlier this year unanimously approved an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance that banned anti-LGBT "discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs," this latest proposition would go a step further, mandating workplace rights for LGBT people: 

"It's a very important step for the community to signal publicly that all of its citizens are welcomed, and all of its residents will enjoy the same rights and response as others when it comes to issues of non-discrimination," said former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano, who was among the nation's first openly gay mayors and is CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. 

If Proposition 475 is successful, Tempe would become the first Arizona city to include sexual orientation, gender identity and U.S. military veteran status in a city charter as protected classes from employment discrimination. To abolish the rights, any future council would have to take the issue back to the voters…

Tempe's gay workers now are protected against discrimination under a hodgepodge of city personnel rules.

Tempe leaders and Equality Arizona, a LGBT-rights group backing the measure, want those civil rights enshrined in the city charter...

The city ordinance bans discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs.

You can read the entire proposition for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...

(Photo via Facebook)

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Gay Couple Files Order Asking Arizona To Recognize Out-Of-State Marriage

A gay couple in Arizona, one of whom has been given mere months to live, have asked a federal judge to have their out-of-state marriage recognized in their home state. The two men have been together for over four decades and were married in California earlier this summer.

CoupleThe AP reports:

Lawyers for George Martinez and Fred McQuire of Green Valley say the order is needed so McQuire can be recognized as Martinez's survivor when he dies. That will allow him to take care of his affairs and collect larger Veterans Affairs and other benefits.

The men have been a couple for 45 years and were married in California last month after Martinez was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

According to Lambda Legal, "Fred suffers from pulmonary disease and Parkinson’s, and George was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago that resulted from his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. While the prostate cancer is in remission, this past June George was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer."

Martinez explains that both men journeyed to California to marry even though both were very ill.

It’s been a devastating blow. We knew we wanted to get married, and had hoped to be able to do it here, in Arizona, where we live. But now we can’t wait. Even though we are very sick and disabled, we decided we had no choice but to make the difficult and exhausting trip to California. We felt like we had to struggle to survive the journey, but we did because we wanted to get married and it was our only option. All we’re asking is that Arizona respect that marriage, respect the life we’ve built together for almost half a century, and allow us to spend these last months together in peace and love.

Martinez & McQuire are one of the three couples who filed a lawsuit in March demanding Arizona recognize out-of-state gay marriages.


Arizona State Football Player Edward 'Chip' Sarafin Comes Out As Gay

Football

Arizona State Linebacker Edward “Chip” Sarafin has come out as gay, becoming the first college football player to publicly come out while he is still an active player. The 6’6", 320-pound redshirt senior shared his revelation in an interview with Compete magazine, a periodical that focuses on gay sports. Sarafin talked about seeing bullying when he was in high school and his recent experience coming out to his teammates:

"I went to school at Highland High, and it is definitely not the most diverse school. It’s probably 80 percent Mormon and 80 percent Caucasian. So there is definitely a disparity there in the types of people that you meet. I know a lot of times a lot of people who were bullied because they were different were actually bullied by athletes, and that made me really angry ... the athletes are supposed to be the role models, the heroes of the community ...,” Sarafin waxes.

Of his own coming out, Sarafin began telling his team-mates last spring. “It was really personal to me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly.”

Sarafin says that he told his teammates mostly for himself and because he wanted them to hear it straight from him instead of the college rumor mill that all players find themselves subjected to at some point.

Meanwhile, OutSports reports that Arizona State coach Todd Graham issued a statement in support of Sarafin:

"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way. Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master's student. His commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and he has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff.”

Michael Sam also sent Sarafin some love, offering him words of encouragement and support on Twitter:

(photo via Compete)


Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Pledges To Stand Up To Gays, Immigrants: VIDEO

Mexigov_2

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Andrew Thomas just released his first campaign ad. It states, “he’s the only candidate who has stopped illegal immigration, stood up to the gay lobby, and opposed liberal judges.”

Thomas helped write Arizona’s infamous “show me your papers” law requiring police to racially profile anyone they suspect of looking like an undocumented immigrant.

In 2010, he resigned as Maricopa County Attorney to run for attorney general of his state and lost. In 2013, he was stripped of his legal license and disbarred as an attorney. AZ Central explains why:

Among the most serious findings were that he and his former prosecutors pressed unwarranted criminal charges, obtained indictments, filed a federal racketeering lawsuit and initiated investigations against his political enemies and those of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from 2006 to 2010.

On the “Push Back against Liberal Bullies” section of Thomas' issues page, it reads:

Liberal professors and other zealots in higher education, subsidized by federal tax dollars, indoctrinate young people and stifle free political expression by conservatives and others at our colleges and universities.

Gay-rights activists assail anyone who believes in marriage between a man and a woman.

Unelected activist judges, appointed and egged on by Obama, rule by decree, gutting or throwing out our laws against illegal immigration.

Thomas ignores the fact that the judge who blocked key provisions of his “show me your papers” law was in fact appointed by former President Bill Clinton. And he has 

Not that it matters. Current polling has Thomas far behind Arizona’s other GOP gubernatorial candidates Ken Bennett and Doug Ducey — neither of whose websites even mention LGBT rights.

See Thomas’ ad AFTER THE JUMP…

Mexigov

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